This herb crusted halibut recipe might look like a lot of work, but it's really not. And the reward is huge—a very tasty, yet very healthy dish awaits. Just break it down into two parts: make the pea purée, then make the fish.
Our family have been Omaha Steaks customers for years because we used to live 2 blocks away from a store in Colorado. I also met their social media team at SXSW this year and asked if there was a way we could create some wine+food geekery because I believe in the products.
They said, "sure, we'll send you a few items to experiment with". The seafood was the first thing I wanted to try because I'm dubious that seafood can be shipped successfully and still taste good. In the past we've only had their steaks, so we were going to watch for quality.
When the halibut arrived, it was thawed in the refrigerator over night and made this dish the next day. The resulting dish was better than expected. We thought the fish would be rubbery, but it came out moist and flaky with little intervention.
- Halibut Filets - 4 (we used the Omaha Steaks Alaskan Halibut)
- sweet peas - 2 x 10oz. bags, frozen
- greek yogurt - 2 TBSP
- Half & Half - 2 TBSP
- mint leaves - 1/2 cup
- butter - 1 TBSP
- grape seed oil - 1 TBSP
- lemon - 1, large
- Dijon mustard - 3 TBSP
- fresh dill - 2 TBSP, finely chopped
- parsley - 2 TBSP, finely chopped
- tarragon - 2, TBSP, finely chopped
- extra virgin olive oil - 2 TBSP
- salt & pepper -
1. In a medium saucepan, add frozen peas and enough water to cover peas. Bring to a boil and boil until peas are tender—5-10 minutes.
2. Drain peas and rinse with cold water. Add peas along with mint leaves, greek yogurt, half & half to a blender or food processor. Add a pinch of salt and pepper. Purée until it has a texture of guacamole. You can also use an immersion blender for easier cleanup. Set aside or refrigerate until ready to use.
Herb Crusted Halibut:
1. Season both sides of fish with salt and pepper.
2. In a small bowl combine finely chopped herbs and zest from one lemon.
3. Cover one side of halibut with Dijon mustard. Sprinkle herb mixture onto Dijon side of halibut, and pat herb mixture into fish so it sticks to the mustard.
4. Heat 1 TBSP butter and 1 TBSP grape seed oil a large skillet over medium high heat until oil is about to start smoking. Cook herb side of halibut down 3-5 minutes, than flip halibut over and cook fish on the other side for 3-5 minutes.
5. Plate the dish by spooning a stripe of warm pea purée on the plate, then place halibut on top of purée. I finished it with some capers and some baby arugula but it's up to you.
You'll have fun picking a wine because there's so many ways you can go. Immediate flavors to pick out are lemon zest, herbs, mint and sweet pea which gives you plenty of wine pairing options. Grape varietals like Sauvignon Blanc, Soave, Pinot Gris and even Grüner Veltliner can work. Here's a few of my picks for the dish:
Safe Pick: 2010 Chateau St. Jean Fumé Blanc, Sonoma
For about thirteen bucks you really can't go wrong. Chateau St. Jean has an impressive track record of consistently well made wines that are reasonably priced. There aren't many domestic wineries make one Fumé Blanc let alone three. But this is where Chateau St. Jean shows their strength by offering a wide range of wines both white and red that are inherently Sonoma down to the core.
This Fumé offering is a generous blend of Sauvignon Blanc and Semillon that exhibits both mouthfeel and acidity in its structure. A kiss of French and American oak aging adds the proverbial "smokiness" to the wine...which for me plays off the pea purée nicely. Like many CSJ wines, this is an exceptional value.
Adventurous Pick: 2008 A.A. Badenhorst Family White - Paardeberg, South Africa
Buckle up and get ready for this—Chenin Blanc, Roussanne, Grenache Blanc, Verdehlo, Colombar, Viognier, Chardonnay and a partridge in a pear tree. Self described "handsome cousins" Hein and Adi Badenhorst restored a 1930's farm house into its former natural wine producing glory. All vines are farmed as biologically and naturally as possible.
Small parcels were selected, cooled over night then pressed as whole clusters the following day allowing free run juice to flow directly into old casks and cement fermentation tanks where they went through natural fermentation. The result? A wine with great complexity to match the complexity in the dish. Gorgeous perfume notes of stone fruit, white peach pit, citrus tea, spice box and wet river rock spread out across a generous legnthy finish.
Wine Geek Pick: 2008 von Buhl Deidesheimer Pechstein Riesling, GG, Pfalz
We should be past the "Riesling is too sweet" conversation, but in the event you know someone who still thinks this is true, break out the Wine Geek pick and blow their pants off. Master Sommelier, Ron Edwards had the best description:
"Ripe pineapple and baked apple greet your nose, maybe a little botrytis note as well. Then comes beeswax, lime candy, and passion fruit puree; a very compact flavor with an oppulence that develops through the wonderfully tart finish. Lots of passion fruit and lime with tart red apple and then mineral, lavender, and clean mushrooms. Just incredible potential in this wine…would love to try it in 15 years."