Embark on a culinary odyssey that takes you from the cold waters of the Pacific to the heart of Bulgaria with this pan-baked Pacific Halibut, accompanied by partly smashed potatoes, mushrooms, and grilled onion. It’s a beautiful tapestry of oceanic notes, earthy undertones, and smoky whispers.
Preparation Time: Approximately 1 hour, plus 1 hour cooking time.
- 4 Pacific Halibut fillets, about 200 grams each
- 600 grams of baby potatoes
- 400 grams of assorted mushrooms (chanterelle, shiitake, button, portobello)
- 2 large onions
- 100 ml olive oil
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 4 sprigs of fresh thyme
- 4 sprigs of fresh rosemary
Method to Prepare the Food
For the Halibut:
- Preheat your oven to 180°C (356°F).
- Season halibut fillets with salt, pepper, and olive oil.
- Place the fish in a baking dish, adding thyme and rosemary.
- Initial Searing: Place the baking dish in the oven for 5 minutes. This initial high heat will help slightly crisp the fillets’ exterior.
- Reduce Heat and Continue Baking: After the first 5 minutes, lower the oven temperature to 160°C (320°F). Continue baking for another 7-10 minutes or until the fish becomes flaky and opaque. Use a fork to test for doneness; if it easily flakes, it’s done.
- Rest and Serve: After removing the fish from the oven, let it rest for about 5 minutes to allow the juices to redistribute. Discard the thyme and rosemary sprigs before serving.
For Smashed Potatoes and Mushrooms:
- Sauté the baby potatoes until fork-tender.
- In a separate pan, sauté mushrooms in olive oil and garlic.
- Gently smash the potatoes.
For the Grilled Onions:
- Don’t slice onions – grill them, or sauté whole.
- If grilling – grill on high heat, turning until they have grill marks.
- Place the baked halibut on the plate.
- Add the potato and mushroom mixture beside it.
- Top with grilled onion rings.
Tips and Tricks
- Don’t overcook the halibut; its delicate flavor shines when just done.
- Use a potato masher to smash the potatoes partly, but not too much. We’re aiming for texture.
- For the grilled onions, a cast-iron grill works best for those delicious grill marks.
Alternative Preparation Suggestions
- Try using sweet potatoes for a different take on the smashed potatoes.
- For a lighter version, you could steam the halibut instead of baking.
Store the halibut and sides separately in airtight containers in the fridge for up to 2 days.
- This dish marries Pacific Halibut – a fish not traditionally found in Bulgarian waters – with classic Bulgarian accompaniments like grilled onions and mushrooms.
- Though globally loved, mashed potatoes are given a local twist here, added to the sautéed mushrooms for an earthy depth.
- Pacific Halibut may be hard to find in Bulgaria and it may be only occasionally available in bigger food stores.