Halibut with Red Bell Pepper Sauce

I spent the day in Surf City, Long Beach Island, on a beach day double date with my boyfriend James, my close friend, and her boyfriend. On the way home, James and I stopped at Surf City Fishery, a fish market right at the end of the Causeway (the bridge onto the island). We’ve eaten a lot of fluke lately and wanted to do something different. The halibut looked good, so I picked that up.

Bad traffic on the Garden State Parkway led Google Maps to send us to the Turnpike via 539, past lots of farms, so I took advantage of the opportunity to stop at a small farm stand. I picked up a red bell pepper to make a sauce for the fish.

For the sauce, I used:

  • One medium-sized sweet onion, roughly chopped
  • One red bell pepper, seeded and roughly chopped
  • One clove of garlic, peeled and smashed
  • About a cup and half or two cups of water
  • A tablespoon of Chinese chicken bullion powder (you can use any chicken bullion you have, or substitute the powder and the water for a cup and half or so of chicken stock)
  • A big splash of cooking sake – just enough to deglaze the pan. You can use some white wine instead, if you have that on hand.
  • Some salt

This ended up making about 2/3 of a mason jar of sauce, which was way more than we needed for two servings of fish; it’s just nice to have leftovers. I might use some on  poached eggs tomorrow for breakfast.

To make the sauce, I sprinkled some salt on the onions and cooked them over high-ish heat in a little butter and olive oil until they were soft, then added the peppers and garlic and cooked until the peppers were soft and everything was starting to get nice brown edges. I deglazed the pan with cooking sake, let it cook for two or three minutes, then added the water and bullion. I cooked it for five or ten minutes, until the liquid was mostly absorbed, then pureed it with my immersion blender and the cup that came with it. Finally, I put the puree in a mesh strainer over a jar, and stirred with a spoon until I was left with the smooth sauce and about two tablespoons of solids, which I discarded. For a side, I roasted some leftover haricots verts and orange grape tomatoes with salt and olive oil at 350F degrees until they were tender, about 10 minutes.

Roasted haricot verts and orange grape tomatoes

For the main event, I just rubbed the halibut (I got one piece that was just under a pound, which was plenty for me and James) with some olive oil and sprinkled on a little salt and lemon juice. I broiled for six or seven minutes, until it was about 130F degrees, and then it was ready to serve.

Halibut with red pepper sauce and roasted haricot verts

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