Halibut Baked in Creole Sauce.
My dad cooked this for me when I stopped at home on my giant cross country drive this summer. It was smelled so good cooking that I copied the recipe before we even sat down to eat.
This has all those great Louisiana flavors like tomatoes, peppers, and onions found in long simmering dishes like Shrimp Creole but in a fraction of the time.
Because the halibut is baked in the oven, it’s also a perfect recipe for those of you who are a little unsure about cooking fish.
Make the sauce, pour it on top of the fish, and pop it in the oven. Couldn’t be easier.
Here’s what you need:
Halibut, Onion, Bell Pepper, Tomatoes (fresh or 1 can of diced), Garlic, Celery, Chicken Broth, Olive Oil, Tomato Paste, Paprika, Cayenne Pepper, White Pepper, Basil*, Thyme*, Oregano*, Salt & Pepper.
*A couple of notes about the ingredients:
I used both fresh AND dried basil, oregano, & thyme in this recipe. It is perfectly fine to only use dried. (More on this later in the recipe.)
This recipe is fantastic with mild white fish like halibut but any good flaky fish like Red Snapper or Cod would work. The original recipe called for Catfish.
I’m using fresh tomatoes because I had 2 nice ripe ones in season. My dad makes this year round with 1 (14 oz) can of diced tomatoes that have been drained.
If you are using fresh tomatoes, it’s a good idea to peel them otherwise the peel will come off while they cook and float around in the sauce.
An easy way to peel tomatoes (or peaches) is to cut an X into the bottom of the tomato and scald it with boiling water. Let the tomato sit for about 5 minutes then the peel should come right off.
Peel and chop 2 tomatoes.
While you’re chopping, mince 2 cloves of garlic – about 2 teaspoons.
Chop half of a medium onion, 2 ribs of celery, and 1 small red bell pepper. You want about ½ cup of each.
Onions, celery, and peppers are called the “Holy Trinity” in Cajun cooking. No self respecting creole sauce would dare start any other way.
Heat 1 Tablespoon of olive oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. I like to use a non-stick skillet so I can cut down on the amount of oil I need.
Add the onions, celery, and pepper and sauté until soft but not browned, about 5 minutes.
Add the diced tomato – about 1 cup fresh or 1 (14 oz.) can that has been drained.
*For this recipe, I am using fresh and dried herbs. I started with only fresh but thought there wasn’t quite enough flavor in the sauce so I added dried as well. If you don’t have fresh, you can certainly use only dried but you might want something green like parsley as a garnish.
If you have fresh thyme and oregano, remove the tiny leaves from a few stems and chop up 1 Tablespoon of each.
Add the fresh herbs (except for the basil) to the pan.
Season the creole sauce with 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano, 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme, 1/2 teaspoon paprika, and a pinch (or more) of cayenne pepper.
Add salt, black pepper, and white pepper to taste.
Pour in 3/4 cup chicken (or vegetable) broth and add 1 Tablespoon of tomato paste.
Stir to combine and bring the sauce up to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer until the vegetables are tender and the sauce has thickened slightly – about 20 minutes.
Once you have the sauce prepared, but before it cooks the full 20 minutes, preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
Spray a baking dish with non-stick cooking spray and arrange your skinless halibut fillets in the bottom of the dish.
Season the fish with a bit of salt & pepper. I like to plan on about 6 ounces of fish per person. (This recipe makes enough sauce for 4 servings.)
Once the sauce has cooked and the vegetables are fairly tender, pour the sauce over the fish fillets.
Bake at 375 for about 20 minutes.
The fish should be firm and slightly spring back if you give it a little poke. You can also prod it gently with a fork and it should start to flake very easily.
If you are using thinner filets of fish like tilapia or sole, reduce your cooking time to about 12 minutes.
Serve the fish with a few nice spoonfuls of the creole sauce. Garnish it with some freshly chopped basil or parsley.
I’ve added green beans and this Quinoa with brown butter and arugula.
Good and good for you.
How do I know? Because the recipe is based on one from the Mayo Clinic’s heart healthy cookbook.
Here’s the recipe