Just For The Halibut | Jackson Free Press | Jackson, MS

Just For The Halibut


Every day on the way to and from school, I drive past the New Orleans Fish House on E. McDowell Road, just off I-55 South. Hardly a day has gone by since Katrina struck that I haven't wondered what has happened with their retail display case, stuffed to the gills, so to speak, the last time I saw it, with scallops, shrimp and filets of all sorts of fresh fish. Finally last week I pulled out my cell phone and called to satisfy my curiosity.

Buyer Brett Borges told me one tale after another of the impact of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita on the fishing industry in the Gulf of Mexico. Each was a multi-part story—one of the devastation dealt fishermen, suppliers and processors, as well as the fishing areas themselves—the other of the resilience and the drive of the fishermen and suppliers to make it back.

"Much of the fleet was destroyed. The fishermen live there—their houses were destroyed," he said. And those in Louisiana and Texas not slammed by Katrina called to ask how they could help, but that was before Rita. Now those with boats that made it safely through the hurricanes fish the waters again. But with a strong eastern wind in the Gulf recently, Borges told me their difficulties continue.

"They know they have to make money, so they're getting back out. They've seen it all, done it all and will be back," Borges believes.

Until the return of seafood from the Gulf of Mexico as we knew it, a variety of fresh fish still fills the retail display case, cut daily after being trucked to the location. Among those you might find to satisfy your craving for seafood could be amberjack, striped bass, black drum, flounder, halibut, mahi mahi, pompano, Atlantic salmon and snapper. Call 601-983-2464 to find out if your favorite awaits.

Halibut with Pistou
Pistou, first list of ingredients:
1 pound, green beans, 1/4" chopped
1 lg. fennel bulb, 1/4" diced
2 med. carrots, 1/4" diced
2 med. potatoes, 1/4" diced
3 med. yellow onions, 1/4" diced
2 small zucchini, 1/4" diced
4 med. tomatoes, peeled, seeded and 1/4" diced
2 T. flat leaf parsley, minced
2 T. thyme
1 and 1/2 qt. veg stock
Salt and pepper to taste
Extra virgin olive oil to sauté
Pistou, second list of ingredients:
2 T. toasted pine nuts (toasted lightly in the oven)
3 garlic cloves
2 C. basil leaves
1/2 C. extra virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
6 5-6 oz. Halibut filets
Salt and pepper to taste
Lemon or lemon juice
Olive oil to sauté

In a hot two-quart pot over medium heat, sauté the onions and fennel, about 3-4 minutes, until they're getting tender and translucent with no color—do not caramelize. Add carrots and potatoes and cook 3-5 minutes more, still with no color. Add tomatoes, green beans and herbs, cooking for two more minutes. Add the veg stock and bring it to a boil, then reduce it to a simmer for 10-15 minutes.

While it's cooking, use a food processor to puree the pistou second list ingredients, except for the extra virgin olive oil. As you puree, drizzle the olive oil into the food processor. Once it reaches a loose, pasty consistency, it's done. Salt and pepper to taste. Add this mixture to the two-quart pot and taste for seasoning. Keep it warm on super-low heat.

Turn on the oven to 450. On top of the stove, heat two large sauté pans (that you can place into the oven later) with olive oil until just before the smoking point. You want them to be hot because you're going to sear this fish, giving it a good color, caramelizing it. Season all sides of the fish and sear three pieces of fish in each pan, non-skin side down. This means the good, show side of the fish—even if the skin has been removed when you buy your filets, you should be able to tell which sides looks best, or check with your supplier if you're not sure. Sear two minutes or so, until that side is browned evenly and looks good. Flip all of the filets over in the pans, then stick the pans into the oven and cook for 4-6 minutes.

To serve:
Scoop generous portions of the pistou into six shallow bowls, using a slotted spoon because you don't want to take a lot of liquid with the mixture. Add just enough liquid in the bottom of the bowls so that the pistou swims but doesn't fall apart in the liquid.

Place a halibut filet on top of each portion of pistou. Drizzle with extra virgin olive oil and a squeeze or sprinkle of lemon juice.

Previous Comments


wow can't wait to try this, more recipes to follow?


Every so often I include a recipe written for my by my sous-chef son in Portland, Ore. He served this one earlier this week at his restaurant (with sturgeon instead of halibut) and said it went over really well. Thanks.

Lynette Hanson

i'm a vegetarian, and it even sounds good to me!


Casey, want me to get him to modify it for you? He used to be a vegan, remember?

Lynette Hanson

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