Halibut with Pistachios,
Preserved Meyer Lemon, and Capers
By Chef Nate Appleman,
A16, San Francisco, CA
of my favorite simple ways to prepare firm-fleshed fish
is to pair it with a mixture of nuts and herbs. Here,
a paste of pistachios, preserved Meyer lemon, and parsley
complements halibut, while in the next recipe a basil-almond
mixture is matched with salmon. If you are fortunate enough
to come across halibut cheeks, this dish is especially
brilliant with them. If using halibut cheeks, remove the
tough connective tissue on the underside before cooking
them: slip the tip of a boning knife under the tissues,
it will look similar to silver skin - and cut it off the
cheek, leaving the cheek intact.
2 1/2 lbs Halibut Fillet, (divided into 6 (6 1/2 portions),
each about 1 inch thick)
1 cup Unsalted Shelled Pistachios, (lightly toasted (page
1 tbls. Salt Packed Capers, (soaked (p.84) pith and flesh
removed, soaked, and minced)
1/4 tspn Dried Chile Flakes
1/2 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil, (plus more for finishing)
1/2 bunch Flat Leaf Parsley Leaves (about 2 cups loosely
1 Fresh Lemon, (cut into wedges)
the fish portions evenly with a few generous pinches of
salt. Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour or up
to 4 hours.
30 minutes before serving, remove the fish from the refrigerator
and bring to room temperature. Preheat the oven to 400
the pistachios, capers, preserved lemon, and chile flakes
in a food processor or a mortar. Pulse a few times or
crush with a pestle until coarsely blended.
With the processor running, drizzle in the olive oil,
or drizzle in the olive oil as you can crush the ingredients
with the pestle. Add the parsley and pulse a few more
times or crush with the pestle just until combined. Taste
for seasoning and add a pinch of salt if needed. The fish
is seasoned and the preserved lemon and capers are salty,
so you may not need to add any salt.
the fish pieces in a baking pan and divide the pistachio
mixture evenly among the tops, covering each piece and
pressing lightly so the topping adheres. Add enough water
to the pan - about 1/2 cup - to come halfway up the sides
of the fish, and transfer the pan to the oven. Braise
the fish for 10 - 15 minutes, or until firm and just cooked
a slotted spatula, transfer the fish portions to a warmed
platter. Taste the braising liquid and drizzle a few spoonfuls
over the fish if desired. Finish with a generous drizzle
of olive oil.
Serve immediately with a side of fresh lemon wedges.
Nate Appleman Recipes
Halibut with Pistachios, Preserved Meyer Lemon, and Capers
Sardines* with Bread Crumbs, Green Garlic and Mint
Food + Wine
with permission from A16: Food + Wine by Nate
Appleman and Shelley Lindgren, Copyright © 2008.
by Ten Speed Press.
credit: Ed Anderson © 2008
to Amazon.com to buy this book, A16