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The tasty monster of the deep

A halibut definitely has a face only a mother could love, but when it comes to taste it has few equals.

A halibut definitely has a face only a mother could love, but when it comes to taste it has few equals.

The moist, dense, snowwhite meat is so flavourful and lends itself to almost any type of preparation because it holds together when cooked, unlike many other types of white fish. The downside is that it is definitely not cheap to buy. But every once in a while you have to be good to yourself, so while halibut is at its peak (May through September) try one of these delicious recipes.


This is on the mild side as far as spice goes - if you love spicy food feel free to increase the curry paste and ginger.

3 limes

1 Tbsp vegetable oil

1 cup chopped shallots

1 large red pepper, cut into ½ - ¾-inch pieces

1½ Tbsp grated peeled fresh ginger

2½ Tbsp Thai red curry paste (I use the Asian Home Gourmet brand that comes in foil envelopes, widely available)

1 14-oz. can coconut milk

1 Tbsp fish sauce (nam pla)

1 lb. halibut fillets, cut into 1½-inch cubes

12 large uncooked shrimp, peeled and deveined

?3 cup chopped cilantro

?3 cup chopped fresh basil

Finely grate enough lime zest from two of the limes to measure 1½ teaspoons; squeeze the two limes and measure two tablespoons of lime juice; cut the third lime into wedges. Heat vegetable oil in a large sauté pan over medium-high heat. Add shallots, red pepper and ginger; sauté until shallots and peppers have softened, about five minutes. Stir in curry paste and sauté for about 30 seconds; add coconut milk, fish sauce, lime zest and lime juice; simmer gently, stirring often, for about five minutes.

Sprinkle fish with salt and pepper and add to curry sauce along with shrimp. Return to a very gentle simmer and cook just until fish and shrimp are opaque in the middle, five to six minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste. Gently stir in cilantro and basil. Serve over jasmine rice, garnished with lime wedges. Makes four servings.

Halibut & "Chips" with homemade tartar sauce

A recipe from Karen Barnaby, the brilliant chef at the Stanley Park Fish House. This is definitely one to try - so easy and so good.

½ cup prepared mayonnaise

1 Tbsp Dijon mustard

¼ tsp garlic powder

1 1 ?4 tsp fresh lemon juice

1 100-g bag plain potato chips

1 cup panko (Japanese-style breadcrumbs)

6 - 6 oz. halibut fillets

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine mayonnaise, mustard, garlic powder and lemon juice in a shallow bowl; mix well.

Crush potato chips in the bag (don't pulverize them - you want them in approximately ¼-inch bits). Add the panko to the chip bag and shake well to mix; spread out on a plate. Dip the halibut into the mayonnaise mixture, coating all sides, and then dip all sides into the chip mixture, patting gently to help stick to fish.

Place fish on a baking sheet and bake 15-20 minutes, until halibut is cooked through and crust is golden brown. Serve with tartar sauce. Makes six servings.

Homemade Tartar Sauce

½ cup mayonnaise

½ cup sour cream

2 Tbsp finely chopped dill pickle

2 tsp finely snipped fresh chives

½ tsp dried dill or 1 tsp chopped fresh dill

½ tsp finely grated lemon zest

2 tsp fresh lemon juice Freshly ground pepper to taste

Mix all ingredients together well in a small bowl. Refrigerate for at least one hour before serving.

Halibut Soft Tacos with Cilantro Cream

You can also cook the fish on the barbecue, being careful not to break it when turning.

1 lb. halibut fillets

2 Tbsp fresh lime juice

3 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil, divided

2 Tbsp finely minced cilantro

¼ tsp ground cumin

1 clove garlic, minced or pressed

Cilantro Cream: ½ cup sour cream

½ cup mayonnaise

1 lime, juiced

¼ tsp finely grated lime zest

2 Tbsp minced cilantro

1/8 tsp ground cumin

For serving: Quartered cherry or grape tomatoes

Finely shredded green cabbage

6-inch flour tortillas

Whisk together lime juice, two tablespoons olive oil, cilantro, cumin and garlic and pour into a large ziplock bag. Add halibut; seal bag and turn several times to evenly coat fish. Allow fish to marinate 15-30 minutes. Meanwhile, prepare cilantro cream: Combine all ingredients together in a small bowl and stir until well blended.

Refrigerate until ready to use.

Heat the remaining one tablespoon olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Place the fish in the pan and cook without disturbing for three minutes. Flip the fish over and cook the other side two to three minutes more until just opaque in the middle. Remove to a plate and season with salt and freshly ground pepper to taste. Let fish rest for a few minutes, then break into bite-sized pieces with a fork.

To serve, layer fish, tomatoes and cabbage on tortillas; top generously with cilantro cream. Serves four.