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Wild Pacific Halibut with Spinach Basil Pesto

by Caren McSherry
Wild Pacific halibut with spinach basil pesto and frizzled leeks. The colourful contrast between the vibrant green pesto sauce and the bright white of our local wild Pacific halibut makes this easy-to-prepare dish a solid keeper.

Pesto Sauce Ingredients:

  • 1/2 bunch fresh spinach, washed and stems removed (1 cup packed)
  • 1 cup packed fresh basil leaves
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1/2 small shallot
  • 1/4 cup almonds
  • 1/2 cup Pecorino Romano cheese
  • 3/4 cup good olive oil

Frizzled Leeks Ingredients:

  • 1 leek, white part only sliced very thin (garnish)
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 1/3 cup grapeseed oil for frying

Halibut Ingredients:

  • 600 grams fresh wild Pacific halibut
  • 2 tablespoons grapeseed oil
  • Sea salt
  • Ground pepper


1. For the Pesto: Place the spinach, basil, garlic, shallot almonds and cheese in the bowl of a food processor.  Purée until smooth. With the motor running, slowly pour in the oil. The sauce will be the consistency of loose pesto. Set aside.
2. For the Frizzled Leeks: Heat the oil in a shallow fry pan, slice the leeks as thinly as possible, place in a bowl and sprinkle in the flour. Toss to coat, transfer to a sieve, and shake out the excess flour. Place the floured leeks in the hot oil and cook until golden brown, watch carefully and they cook very fast. Keep turning the leeks to encourage even browning.  Remove with a slotted spoon and place on paper towel to absorb any excess oil. Reserve.
3. For the Halibut: To cook the halibut, heat a 12-inch non-stick fry pan to medium high heat, (I prefer Scanpan TechnIQ) lightly season both sides of the halibut with sea salt and ground pepper.  Add the oil to the pan and heat to medium high. Fry the fish until golden on both sides, about 5 minutes per side.
5. To plate, spread a dollop of serving on the plate and place a halibut fillet on top. Garnish seared halibut with frizzled leeks.

Serves 4

Copyright (c) Caren McSherry 2021
Filed Under: fish, halibut, pesto,
Wild Pacific Halibut with Spinach Basil Pesto

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