Panko and Almond Crusted Halibut
OK, so we all know them: the people that don’t like seafood. They are the ones that just can’t understand how anyone can like it in any way, shape, or form. I am convinced that it must have been a bad experience somewhere in their formative years that created this aversion. I fall somewhere in this category myself. I hate bad fish, but I love fresh fish, beautifully prepared. As a kid, the meal that I requested from my father every year on my birthday was barbecued halibut! It was always so perfect. Dad would cook it over charcoal (hey, it was the 60’s and gas grills didn’t exist yet) and generously slather it with BBQ sauce. It was always a perfect birthday treat and a good memory of dad doing something special just for me. Today I don’t consider myself a big lover of seafood, but I like it on occasion, and I really enjoy making it for others. It is always well received and makes for a great presentation. The secret to a successful seafood dish is getting something very fresh. Of course, I have my favorites, but I never go to my ‘seafood guy’ with anything particular in mind; it’s more like, “Hi Walter, what do you have that’s fresh?”. Today it happens to be halibut, one of my favorites. I know this halibut is fresh because I saw it come in the door myself, while I was standing there. If you don’t have a “go to” fish guy, I highly recommend finding one. Developing a good relationship with your purveyors will always pay you back tenfold. My fish guy is Walter, the meat and seafood department manager at Roberts Market in Woodside. Not only is he helpful and forthcoming, he has some great ideas on how to prepare anything from his counter. Today I am using a recommendation of his that I have tried before with great success. Not only is it good, but it is simple, delicious, and perfect for entertaining. Enjoy!
- 2 fresh halibut filets
- 1 egg, lightly beaten
- A couple tablespoons of flour
- About a half cup of Panko
- About a quarter cup sliced almonds, chopped
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Butter and/or olive oil for browning
- Rinse and dry the filets on paper towel. The Panko crust is just going on the top of the fish.
- Mix the chopped nuts with the panko, and place on a flat dish, dredge the top of each filet with flour and shake off the excess. Dip the top into the egg, then into the panko, giving a little pressure to make sure that it is well coated. It can sit for a short while to set, but you won’t want to do it too far ahead.
- When ready, heat the pan, and melt the butter, brown off the top of the fish only; you are just looking for color here since you will finish cooking it in the oven. Don’t over brown it; it will brown a little more in the oven.
- When you have a nice even color, place in a pan, crust up, in a 400 degree oven for about 4 minutes if it is a flat piece, 5-6 minutes if it is a thick piece. Serve immediately.