Asian flavor makes just about anything taste better, even fish. Thanks to my aversion to any fish that tastes too fishy, we have experimented with all kinds of sauces to make fish more appetizing, including citrus, BBQ, Southwestern and Italian style sauces and toppings. While we usually cook with tilapia at home, halibut is another mild flavored fish that is easy to prepare in several different ways: baked, broiled, grilled, pan-sauteed, poached or fried. Because it is thicker than tilapia, halibut holds up nicely in a heavier sauce or glaze. Breaking out of our tilapia rut, we adapted this recipe into an Asian-inspired marinade and glaze for fresh halibut, pan-seared and finished in the oven. The marinade keeps the halibut from drying out and infuses the fish with spicy, tangy and fresh flavors.
Whisk together the minced garlic and ginger, chopped green onion (white parts only), sesame oil, maple syrup, soy sauce and adobo sauce in a small bowl.
Place the fish in a resealable plastic bag, pour in the marinade and make sure the fish is well-coated with the marinade. Refrigerate the fish for a couple of hours or up to all day.
When it’s time to cook the fish, pour the marinade into a small sauce pan and bring it to a boil for a few minutes. This will cook off any bacteria from the raw fish so you can use the hot marinade as a glaze for the cooked fish.
Heat about a teaspoon of canola or vegetable oil in a skillet over medium-high heat, then place the fish skin-side-up in the skillet and cook over medium heat until browned on each side — about 3-4 minutes per side.
When you flip the fish over after 3-4 minutes, it will probably shrink up a bit, which is kind of cool to watch (And reminds me of Shrinky Dinks, remember those? Pliable sheets of thin plastic with shapes and things to color, then cut out and have your mom put in the oven while you watched them shrink into hard plastic shapes. To do what with, exactly? Toys were weird in the 70s. But who didn’t love Shrinky Dinks?! And what about Silly Putty — that damn sticky glob never quite captured the cartoons from the funnies like they said it would, try and try again. While we’re at it, here’s a little known fact: Dan grew up not far from the birthplace of the Slinky, the only toy that made a kid wish they had stairs at their house if they didn’t. Okay, okay, enough toy nostalgia — back to the recipe.)
Depending on the thickness of the fish, you will probably need to finish cooking it in the oven. Spoon some of the sauce over the fish in the skillet, then place the skillet in the oven heated to 400 degrees to bake until the fish is done — it should be opaque in the middle and easily flaked with a fork — about 5-7 minutes.
Serve with the remaining sauce spooned over the top and garnish with chopped green onions. We rounded out our Asian feast that night with jasmine rice and sauteed snow peas, and dined al fresco.
- 1-2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 teaspoon minced ginger
- 2-3 green onions, white and green parts separated and chopped
- 1 tablespoon maple syrup
- ¼ cup soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon sesame oil
- 1 teaspoon adobo sauce from canned chipotles in adobo
- halibut fillet
- 1 teaspoon canola or vegetable oil
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
- To make the marinade, whisk together the first seven ingredients (except for the green parts of the onions) in a small bowl. Set aside the chopped green parts of the green onions for garnish. Place the halibut in a resealable bag, pour the marinade into the bag, make sure the fish is well-coated and refrigerate for a couple of hours or up to all day.
- Heat the oil over medium-high heat in an oven-safe skillet. Place the fish skin-side-up in the skillet and cook over medium heat for 3-4 minutes until browned, flip the fish over, then cook for another 3-4 minutes until the skin-side is also browned.
- While the fish cooks, pour the used marinade into a small saucepan and bring it to a boil for a few minutes to create a glaze.
- When the fish is browned on the outside but not yet done inside, spoon some of the hot glaze over the fish and place the skillet in the oven to finish cooking — about 5-7 minutes. The fish should be opaque inside at the thickest part and should flake easily with a fork.
- Spoon the remaining glaze over the fish, garnish with chopped green onion and serve.