Cinco de Mayo is just two days away and I think you should make this. Bold of me, I know, but you’ll love it! If you’re put off by the searing (as I often am), then bake or grill your fish.
And if you don’t want to spring for halibut, true cod or another firm white fish would also be. Or maybe you’re a vegetarian, then serve this salsa over rice and beans. I think you see where I’m going with this; the salsa is the magic.
I also have to tell you about two gadgets, and that makes me cringe because I don’t really like gadgets. I’d rather smack a garlic clove with the broad end of a knife and mince it than shove it through a press. Mushroom slicers? Forget it. But for mangoes, and other thick skinned foods like butternut squash, I use a ceramic peeler. It’s tough and terrifyingly sharp, so watch your fingers. The second gadget is a mango splitter. I read rave reviews about it in Cooks Illustrated magazine and after years of mangled attempts at separating flesh from pit, I decided to buy one. This thing really works.
Pan Seared Halibut with Mango-Avocado Salsa
For the salsa:
- 1 1/2 cups mango 1 large or two small mangoes) peeled and diced into 1/2" cubes
- 1 large avocado peeled and diced into 1/2" cubes
- 1/2 cup chopped red cabbage
- 1/4 cup fresh cilantro chopped
- 1 scallion (green and white parts) chopped
- 2 teaspoons minced fresh jalapeno without seeds
- 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice (juice from 1/2 lime)
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- pinch ground cumin
For the halibut:
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 4 7-ounce skinless halibut fillets patted dry
Preheat oven to 450°F.
Combine all salsa ingredients (mango through cumin) in a medium bowl and gently stir to combine. Season to taste with fine sea salt and freshly ground black pepper; set aside.
Heat olive oil in a large, ovenproof skillet over medium-high heat until almost smoking. Add halibut fillets, without crowding, to the hot skillet. Be careful as the oil will cough and sputter. After a few seconds nudge each fillet with a spatula to promote even searing. Continue to sear for about 3 minutes. Gently slide spatula under halibut and peek to see if it has reached your desired level of golden brown. Once it has, transfer skillet to oven for 4 to 5 minutes more, until fish is opaque in the center. Remove from oven and flip each fillet. Allow to rest for a moment while the hot oil lightly browns the other side.
Transfer one fillet to each of 4 plates, seared side up. Season lightly with coarse salt (such as kosher or Maldon) and freshly ground black pepper.
Stir salsa once more and spoon desired amount over each fillet. Serve immediately.
So happy Cinco de Mayo! I hope you try this (at least the salsa!). I’d love to hear what you think!