once upon a chef

Pan-Seared Halibut with Cherry Tomatoes & Basil


– 1 pint cherry/grape tomatoes, halved (preferably mixed colors) – 2 medium garlic cloves, minced – 1 teaspoon red wine vinegar – Salt – Freshly ground black pepper – 4 (6-ounce) skinless halibut filets (or other mild white fish) – 3 tablespoons olive oil, divided – 2 tablespoons fresh chopped basil

Step #1

In a medium bowl, combine the tomatoes, garlic, vinegar, a heaping 1/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/8 teaspoon pepper.

Step #2

Toss to combine and set aside.

Step #3

Season the halibut all over with 3/4 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper.

Step #4

Heat 2 tablespoons of the oil in a 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until hot and shimmering. It’s important that the pan is good and hot. If the fish doesn’t sizzle when you place it in the oil, take it out and give he pan another minute or two to heat up. Place the fish, presentation-side down, in the pan. (Be sure not to crowd the pan, or the fish will steam instead of sear.)

Step #5

Cook, without touching, until golden brown and crisp, about 3 minutes. Flip the fish and lower the heat to medium; continue cooking until the halibut is just firm to the touch and opaque when you pry open a thicker piece with a paring knife, 3 to 4 minutes. Transfer the cooked halibut to a plate or serving platter.

Step #6

Add the remaining 1 tablespoon oil to the pan, followed by the cherry tomato mixture.

Step #7

Cook, stirring occasionally, over medium heat until the tomatoes start to break down and release their juices, a few minutes.

Step #8

Stir in basil, then taste and adjust seasoning if necessary.

Step #9

Serve the halibut filets with the cherry tomatoes spooned over top and alongside.