Roasted Halibut with Tomato Sauce and Orzo
If your looking for an easy halibut recipe, I’ve got one for you. Halibut is one of my favorite fish to cook, and I make it at least one a month. Baking is one of the least labor intensive ways to cook halibut. I’d say the majority of time I make halibut, I'm searing the fish on the stove top, quickly on both sides. Searing it off like that gets the outside nice and crispy, and because you're watching the fish the whole time, I think it's relatively easy to make sure you don't over cook it. However, if I'd rather be say...talking with my guests, I'll sometimes just pop the halibut into a hot oven to roast...then I don't have to think about it for 15 or 20 minutes. In this recipe video, I show how to make a simple roasted halibut recipe, topped with a savory tomato sauce and served with orzo pasta. The recipe is certainly Italian themed, but frankly, I don’t really know if it’s at all traditional…as I was just looking for a simple, tasty halibut dish. Roasting is easy and I had some tomato sauce on hand. Just be careful not to overcook the fish…which is about the only thing that can really go wrong in this recipe. Hope you enjoy it as much as I do.
Recipe Overview and Keys to Success
For the best Roasted Halibut with Tomato Sauce & Orzo just make sure to focus on these few things:
- Make sure not to overcook the fish. Roasting is "easier" to do, as you don't need to stand over the halibut, “actively” cooking it. But that means you're not constantly monitoring the halibuts doneness either, and depending on thickness it can cook quickly. Check the fish after about 15 minutes, and then every few minutes after that.
- Of course, I’m going to say don’t overcook the orzo. Like all pasta, start checking doneness before the package suggests, and pull it out al dente
- Make sure to use a good tomato sauce. If you buy a nice piece of fish, it would simply by wrong to smoother a poor quality sauce on it. I like homemade if you have the time (make large batch and freeze it).
- Make sure to season the fish. Just because we have the tomato sauce doesn’t mean salt and pepper doesn’t count…season both sides
Ingredients for Halibut with Orzo (for 2)
- 2 Halibut filets (about 8 ounces each)
- 1/2 cup of basic tomato sauce
- 1/2 cup orzo pasta
- 1/4 cup of diced zucchini
- 1/4 cup of diced red bell pepper
- 1 large shallot diced
- 2 garlic cloves minced
- Couple tablespoons of sundried tomatoes
- 2 tablespoons chopped basil
- Lemon (for the juice)
- Salt & pepper
- Preheat your oven to 400 degrees, and put a pot of water on stove to boil for the orzo pasta
- Allow your halibut filets to come up to room temperature, and season both sides with salt and pepper
- Coat a room temperature, oven-ready sauté pan, or baking dish, with olive oil, and lay the filets in it
- Heat the tomato sauce until near a simmer, and then spoon over the halibut in a layer about a quarter inch thick
- Pop into a 400 degree oven; they should take about 20 minutes to just cook through (depending on thickeness - about 10 minues an inch), but start checking at the 15 minute mark
- Salt the boiling water, and add the orzo pasta, after the fish has been going for about 5 minutes
- Heat a saute pan over medium high heat, and coat the bottom with olive oil
- Add the zucchini, red bell pepper, and shallot, season with salt and pepper, and toss together
- After about 2 minutes or so, add the garlic and sundried tomato, and toss again
- Once al dente, drain the Orzo well, and add to the vegetables; season with salt and pepper, and toss
- If needed, you can allow the orzo to stand, over very low heat for 5 – 7 minutes while the fish finishes cooking
- Remove the fish when it’s just cooked through. You can use a knife or fork to gently break apart the flesh to see the center – then use the sauce to cover up the whole you made (sneaky huh?)
- Remove the fish from the oven
- Add the chopped basil to the orzo, along with a good squeeze of lemon, and toss one more time. Taste, and if needed, adjust the seasoning.
- Plate up the orzo, and lay the fish filet on top and you got it made.
Hope you enjoy this halibut dish.
Wine Recommendation: I think there are several ligher bodied whites that I would pair up with this roasted halibut recipe. A sauvignon blac would be very nice. You could try a Chardonnay, but if you do, I'd try to find one that is less oaky, and more fruity, and I don't really love the combination of tomato and heavy oak in white wine.