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Barbecue Secrets

Recipes of the Week: Halibut and Tropical Fruit Kebabs and Grilled and Dilled Halibut

Jul 25, 2014

Grilled Halibut and Tropical Fruit Kebabs

Serves 2 for lunch, or 8 for hors d’oeuvres

Halibut’s firm, perfectly white flesh makes it spectacular in any recipe. I love these meaty skewers because they excite the eye and the palate with festive colors and tropical flavors.

For the marinade:
1 Tbsp | 15 mL lemon juice
2 Tbsp | 25 mL vegetable oil
2 Tbsp | 25 mL chopped fresh basil
1 clove garlic, finely minced
1/2 tsp | 2 mL dried red chili flakes (or to taste)

For the kebabs:
1 lb | 500 g boneless, skinless halibut fillet, about 3/4 inch | 1.5 cm thick
twelve 7-inch | 18 cm bamboo skewers, soaked for at least 1 hour
2 ripe mangoes, peeled, pitted, and cut into 12 bite-sized chunks
half a ripe pineapple, peeled, cored, and cut into 12 bite-sized chunks
1 red onion, cut into 12 bite-sized chunks
kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
olive oil for drizzling/brushing
lime wedges and basil sprigs for garnish

Combine the marinade ingredients in a nonreactive bowl. Cut the halibut into 24 equal pieces (2 cuts lengthwise, 3 cuts across) and toss them with the marinade. Marinate the halibut for 20 minutes to 1 hour, but no longer.
            Assemble 12 skewers, alternating chunks of fish and vegetables with the mango and pineapple (mango-fish-pineapple-fish-onion-fish).
            Prepare the grill for medium direct heat. Drizzle or brush the kebabs with a little oil and place them on the cooking grate. Grill them for 3–5 minutes, turning them once or twice, until the fish chunks are springy to the touch. Season them with a sprinkle of salt and a drizzle of olive oil, and serve them, 2 to a plate. Garnish the kebabs with lime wedges and basil sprigs.

Note: This dish also takes well to the plank, which promotes gentle cooking and prevents sticking. The downside is that a plank doesn’t fit more than about four or six skewers.

Dilled and Grilled Halibut

Makes 4 servings

Halibut is such a delicately flavored fish that you don’t want to do much to it. The key here is to use the very freshest ingredients. This dish is excellent with grilled veggies, roasted potatoes and your favorite salad.

4 6 oz | 175 g fresh halibut fillets, skin on
kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup | 50 mL fresh dill fronds (stems removed), chopped
2 Tbsp | 25 mL lemon juice
extra virgin olive oil
lemon wedges for garnish

Place the fish fillets in a nonreactive dish or baking pan. Season both sides of each fillet with salt and pepper and coat them evenly with the dill. Squeeze lemon over the fish and then drizzle it generously with the olive oil, turning it to coat it.  Let it sit for 15 minutes. Meanwhile, prepare the grill for direct medium heat.
            Place the halibut pieces on the grill, skin side down. Cook the halibut for about 6 minutes, until it’s just cooked through, to an internal temperature of about 140–150˚F | 60–65˚C. Remove it from the grill (the skin will stick to the grill but should easily separate from the fish) and let it rest for a couple of minutes. To serve the halibut, season it with a little more salt and pepper, drizzle it with olive oil, and accompany it with lemon wedges.

Barbecue Secrets

One of the problems with grilling fish is the delicate flesh sticks to the cooking grate and the fish seems to fall apart before you can get it off the grill. But today’s covered gas or charcoal grills cook so evenly you don’t have to turn your fish, even when you’re cooking it over direct heat. For fillets, just cook the fish skin side down. The skin sticks to the grill, allowing the fish to come off cleanly and easily. If you’re cooking fish steaks that have no skin, be sure you oil the grill and spray the fish with cooking spray just before putting it on the grate.

Bonus tip: Don’t let that skin go to waste. Salmon skin in particular is excellent when crisped up on the grill. After you’ve taken your salmon fillet off, pry the skin off the grate and grill it for another few minutes. Remove it, sprinkle it with salt, and it’s a crispy and delicious cook’s treat!