Grilled Wild Halibut with Greens, Hazelnuts and Sunflower Seed Pesto

Grilled Wild Halibut with Greens, Hazelnuts and Sunflower Seed Pesto

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  • 2 pounds wild halibut fillet, skin-on
  • 1 cup basil leaves (stems saved)
  • 1 cup spinach or arugula leaves
  • 1/4 to 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 large cloves garlic, coarsely chopped
  • 1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan or chèvre cheese (optional)
  • 1/4 cup toasted hazelnuts
  • 2 tablespoons sunflower seeds
  • 2 tablespoons pumpkin seeds
  • 1 teaspoon lime or lemon juice
  • Splash of hot sauce
  • Salt and pepper, to taste


Pat halibut fillet dry with a paper towel.

Place remaining marinade ingredients in the bowl of a food processor or blender and blend until coarsely chopped (the consistency should be similar to that of fine pickle relish). If the mixture is a little dry, add a bit more olive oil. Coat halibut about 1/4-inch-thick with pesto. Refrigerate for 30 minutes, or up to overnight.

Place halibut, skin-side down, on a hot grill. Scatter basil stems around halibut. They will burn and create a little smoky flavor. Cover the grill and cook for 15 to 20 minutes (depending on the thickness) or until the halibut is just opaque through and the sections of meat start to slide apart when pressed gently. (Don’t overcook; halibut will continue to rise in temperature after you take it off the grill.)

To serve: With a pancake spatula, scoop the halibut off its skin and place on a warmed plate.

Special notes:

You also may place halibut, skin-side down, on a roasting pan and cook in the oven at 425° F oven for 16 to 20 minutes, or until done as directed above.

This recipe easily can be custom designed to fit your own tastes. Try using chard or beet greens instead of spinach. Add flax seeds or chia seeds. Try almonds or pistachios instead of hazelnuts. You get the idea!

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