In this story from our archives, the fish experts at Vancouver’s Fresh Ideas Start Here show us how to select and prepare fresh, local halibut, all season long.
Halibut season is here. For home cooks and chefs alike, fresh British Columbia halibut is one of the most highly anticipated local kinds of fish. The season usually begins in March and closes in October, with quotas that are regulated by the Department of Fisheries and Oceans.
Our halibut is sustainably line-caught in B.C.’s pristine waters. Its sweet, delicate flavour, snow-white colour, and firm, flaky meat make it a great fish for a variety of preparations: baking, broiling, grilling, deep-frying, and pan-frying. When buying halibut, be sure the meat is translucent and not opaque.
Fresh Ideas Start Here chef Lucas Harrison’s halibut curry recipe truly celebrates the arrival of spring, featuring first-of-the-season halibut along with Swiss chard—one of the season’s first vegetables available for harvest. Bold flavours of a simple but fragrant curry sauce and Thai pestou are exotic accents for this sustainable, wild B.C. delicacy.
Halibut Curry with Swiss Chard and Thai Pestou
2/3 can (260 millilitres) coconut milk (save remainder of the can for garnish)
1 tablespoon chopped lemongrass
1 sliced shallot
6 cloves sliced garlic
3 tablespoons red curry paste
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon fish sauce
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
2 ounces Thai basil
1 bunch cilantro
1 tablespoon peanut butter
¼ cup olive oil
½ of 1 Thai chili pepper
4 cloves garlic
1 bunch Swiss chard
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 tablespoon butter
Pinch of salt
2 tablespoons peanuts, toasted and crushed
Remaining coconut milk
Juice of 1 lime
Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
Combine all ingredients in a food processor or blender and mix until smooth.
Put a medium-sized saucepan on medium-low heat.
Once hot, add vegetable oil followed by shallot, garlic, and lemongrass. Cook until the ingredients become tender.
Add the curry paste and cook for one to two minutes, or until you can really smell the aromatics of the paste.
Turn up stove heat to medium and add about one-third of coconut milk. Once the oil separates, stir in another one-third of coconut milk, and once it separates again, add your remaining milk and immediately turn down the heat to low.
Finish by adding the sugar and fish sauce as seasoning, to your taste.
Keep warm on low heat.
Place a medium-sized pan on medium heat.
Add oil; once the pan is hot, lay the halibut meat-side down (skin-side up) until it is brown on one side.
Flip the halibut over and put in preheated oven for five minutes.
Remove halibut from the oven and add butter to the pan. Spoon foaming butter over the halibut to baste until it finishes cooking.
At the same time as your halibut, put a medium-sized pan on medium heat for the chard.
Once the pan is hot, add chard stems and a pinch of salt. Cook stems until tender.
Add your chard leaves and butter, and cook until wilted and soft.
Place cooked chard with stems on a paper towel to absorb any unwanted liquid.
Place chard in the centre of two plates or bowls.
Pour hot curry sauce evenly around both piles of chard.
Place the halibut atop the chard, followed by a spoon full of Herb Pestou.
To garnish, sprinkle with toasted peanuts and a drizzle of the remaining coconut milk.
And with that, say hello to spring.
This article from our archives was originally published on March 31, 2017. Try more delicious recipes.