Mild seared halibut with spicy tomato oil is the perfect ode to juicy summer tomatoes. This seared halibut recipe is the perfect way to celebrate summer’s finest bounty.
This seared halibut recipe relies heavily on the tomatoes for flavor. Why? Because halibut is quite mild and sweet. The firm, flaky texture of halibut is key in this recipe and pairs so well with the flavorful tomatoes.
I don’t often make halibut due to its high price tag, but I couldn’t resist after seeing beautiful, thick filets at the grocery store. Cooking on a budget? Replace the halibut with any light, flaky white fish. You can use tilapia, haddock, or cod.
What kind of tomatoes should I use in this seared halibut and spicy tomato oil recipe?
Speaking of, let’s talk tomatoes. What kind of tomatoes should you use in this halibut and tomato oil recipe? There are so many wonderful variety of tomatoes to take advantage of in the summer. All of them have a unique flavor. My advice for this halibut recipe: use ALL the tomatoes. Buy a few varieties and tweak the ratio to get the flavor you like. Try it with:
- Cherry tomatoes: very sweet
- Larger red tomatoes: more acidic
- Orange or yellow tomatoes: milder
- Black tomatoes: intense sweet, acidic flavor
Using a combination of tomatoes will allow you to tweak the balance of sweet, acidic flavors to create a dish that is unique and delicious.
The longer you let the tomatoes sit in the oil, the more flavorful the final product will be. I would aim for 30 minutes in the oil if you can manage it! The remaining oil will last for almost 3 weeks in an airtight container in the fridge. That being said, this recipe is SO easy and will be sure to impress your guests. For a more filling meal, you can serve with a side of buttery pasta.
Looking for more fish recipes? Check my archives!
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- Wide pot or skillet
- Food processor
- 2 large tomatoes sliced into rounds, for serving
- 6 grape or cherry tomatoes halved, for serving
- 1 pound halibut
- 1-3 serrano peppers trimmed and halved
- 1 pound mixed tomatoes such as heirloom, cherry, Campari, and beefsteak
- 1 head of garlic cloves peeled and lightly crushed
- 1 small shallot peeled and halved
- 2 fresh bay leaves
- 1 cup olive oil
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- Greens for serving like watercress or microgreens
Prepare the Tomatoes for Serving:
- Arrange the sliced serving tomatoes and halved cherry tomatoes on a plate. Sprinkle the salt and transfer to the refrigerator.
Prepare the Tomato Oil:
- In a wide, deep skillet, add the Serrano peppers, mixed tomatoes, garlic, shallot, and bay leaves. Pour in the 1 cup olive oil. Heat over medium high until very hot. Reduce heat to medium low and cook on a very low bubbling simmer for at least 30 minutes. Stir regularly to keep the vegetables from sticking. The tomatoes may break apart and that’s okay!
- After the oil has cooked, remove the bay leaves and discard. Strain the oil through a fine mesh sieve into a bowl to separate the solids from the oil. Transfer the oil to a glass container with a lid. Set aside.
- Transfer the solids to a food processor and season the oil to taste with a touch of salt. Purée the solids until mostly smooth. Taste and season with salt and pepper. Transfer to a bowl.
Prepare the Fish:
- Carefully wipe out the skillet you used to make the oil and heat the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil over medium high until very hot. Pat the halibut dry and season all over with salt and pepper.
- Add the fish (skin-side down if you’re using skin-on filets) and cook for 4-5 minutes or until very browned. Flip and cook an additional 4 minutes or until the fish flakes easily and is well browned. Turn off the heat.
- Add a two spoonfuls of the tomato oil to the bottom of shallow bowls. Arrange two slices of fresh tomato and a few grape tomato halves in the oil. Gently place a fish filet on top and spoon a tablespoon of the purée on top of the fish with a few microgreens arranged around the fish. Serve at the table with additional purée and tomato oil. Enjoy!