Fish and lemon – well, of course. They are a natural pair, classic for a reason. But lemon isn’t the only citrus that makes fish sparkle. Now, at the height of the citrus season, there is a wide and wonderful variety to explore with color, bright acidity and flavor that can take your seafood dinner to another level.
The sauce for this dish brings together grapefruit and orange in an enticing and exciting way. I use red grapefruit for its color and gentle pucker, and a navel orange works perfectly with it. But if cara caras are available, try that orange variety, which has a stunning pink hue and lovely sweet-tart balance.
Once you segment the citrus over a bowl and collect the juices, use them to make a simple yet elegant pan sauce that takes all of 10 minutes. Just saute shallot in a bit of olive oil, add white wine and a touch of honey and butter to give the sauce a silky richness and balance the tartness of the fruit.
All the while, the halibut (or whatever mild, white flaky fish you prefer) is roasting gently and evenly in the oven, a method that is one of the surest ways to get it done right and makes for stress-free cooking. With grilling and pan-cooking, fish cooks fast – blink and it could overcook – but those methods require you to flip the fillets, upping the chance they will fall apart.
Roasting eliminates all of that: Place the fish in a preheated oven and cook it for 10 minutes per inch of thickness. It’s as foolproof as it gets.
Finish the sauce by adding the citrus segments and juices with sprinkle of fresh tarragon. Shake the pan a couple of times as it all warms through – gently, to avoid breaking up the plump citrus segments. Then spoon it over the fish, and relish the taste of sun and surf in a whole new way.
Ellie Krieger’s newest cookbook is “You Have It Made: Delicious, Healthy, Do-Ahead Meals” (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2016). She blogs and offers a weekly newsletter at www.elliekrieger.com.
Roasted Halibut With Citrus Wine Sauce
3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
4 (6-ounce) skinless halibut fillets
1/2 teaspoon salt, divided
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 red grapefruit
1 navel orange
2 medium shallots (1/3 cup minced)
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
2 teaspoons honey
1 tablespoon chopped fresh tarragon
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.
Brush the bottom of a shallow baking dish with 1 1/2 teaspoons oil. Place the fish in the dish, then brush the fish with another 1 1/2 teaspoons oil. Season the fish with 1/4 teaspoon salt and all the pepper. Roast until just opaque, about 10 minutes per inch of thickness. Remove from oven and cover to keep warm if the fish is done before the sauce is ready.
Cut off the top and bottom of the grapefruit and orange, then remove the pith and peel of each by standing the fruit on one of its cut ends; follow the curve of the fruit with your knife, slicing downward around the fruit. Working over a bowl so the citrus segments fall into the bowl and you catch the juice, use a paring knife to remove each segment of the grapefruit and orange from its membrane.
Heat the remaining 2 tablespoons oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Once the oil shimmers, add the shallots and cook, stirring until softened and beginning to brown, 2 to 3 minutes. Stir in the wine; cook for 2 to 4 minutes or until it has reduced by about half.
Reduce the heat to medium-low; stir in the butter, honey and the remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt. Add the citrus segments and juices, then sprinkle with tarragon. Shake the pan or stir gently to distribute, and cook until warmed through, about 2 minutes.
Serve the fish topped with the sauce.
Per serving: 370 calories, 33 g protein, 20 g carbohydrates, 16 g fat, 4 g saturated fat, 90 mg cholesterol, 390 mg sodium, 2 g dietary fiber, 9 g sugar
Yield: 4 servings.