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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 mango avocado 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.
So happy Cinco de Mayo! I hope you try this (at least the salsa!). I'd love to hear what you think!
Pan Seared Halibut with Mango-Avocado Salsa
For the Salsa
- 1 ½ cups mango 1 large or two small mangoes) peeled and diced small
- 1 large avocado peeled and diced small
- ½ cup finely chopped red cabbage
- ½ red bell pepper finely chopped
- 1 green onion finely chopped
- 1 jalapeño without seeded and minced, see recipe note
- ¼ cup fresh cilantro finely chopped
- 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice about 1 lime
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- ⅛ teaspoon ground cumin
- kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
For the Halibut
- 3 tablespoon olive oil
- 4 7-ounce skinless halibut filets 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.