Halibut has the biggest flat fish population in the seas around the UK, and has a delicious, firm white flesh with a meaty texture. In the restaurant I only use wild halibut, but you can now buy excellent farmed halibut for a more affordable option for cooking at home. The meaty texture allows you to pair halibut with big flavours, and that is exactly what the red pepper piperade here is all about. It’s a great garnish and will also work with lots of dishes, and can be made a day in advance. I love to serve this dish with green Padron peppers for a real Spanish touch.
- 5 red peppers
- Olive oil
- 150g fresh chorizo, casing removed and chopped
- 1 onion, chopped
- 1 garlic clove, chopped
- 1 bouquet garni
- 150ml chicken stock, ideally homemade
- A small handful of basil leaves
- 4 halibut steaks, about 130g each, skinned
- 20g butter
- 16 Padron peppers
- Sea salt and freshly cracked black pepper
First, prepare the red peppers. Preheat the oven to 200°C. Heat a large well-seasoned ovenproof sauté pan with a lid over a medium-high heat, then add a splash of oil. When it is hot, add the peppers, season with salt and pepper and sauté for 2 min on each side. Transfer the pan into the oven and roast the peppers, uncovered, for 10 min, or until softened.
Place the peppers into a bowl, cover tightly with clingfilm and set aside for 10 min — this makes the peppers sweat so you can remove the skins easily. Transfer the peppers into a sieve or colander in the sink and rinse off the skins with cold running water. Cut the peppers in half and remove the seeds and membranes, then slice them into strips and set aside.
Heat the wiped-out pan over a medium-high heat, then add a splash of oil. When it is hot, add the chorizo and sauté for 2 min, or until oils are released. Now add the onion, garlic and bouquet garni, cover the pan, lower the heat and leave the onion to sweat for 2 min. Add the red pepper strips and continue sweating for a further 3 min.
Pour in the chicken stock, turn the heat to medium-high and leave to simmer, uncovered, stirring frequently, for 20 min, or until the peppers have a jam-like consistency. Stir in the basil and season with salt and pepper. Remove the bouquet garni, set the peppers aside and keep hot while you cook the halibut.
Pat the halibut steaks dry and season them all over with salt and pepper. Heat a well-seasoned sauté or frying pan over a medium-high heat, then add a splash of oil. When it is hot, add the steaks and fry for 3 min before carefully turning over. Add the butter to the pan and continue frying for a further 3 min, basting with the butter, or until the flesh flakes easily.
Remove the halibut from the pan and leave to rest, covered with kitchen foil, for 2 min. Meanwhile, add a splash more oil to the pan. When it is hot, add the Padron peppers and sauté for 3 min, or just until they are tender. Serve the halibut on the red pepper mixture with the Padron peppers.