For some reason, we don’t cook enough fish in our household. Maybe it’s because fish can be tough to cook, but we realized that this was worth fixing after a trip to Spain this summer. We enjoyed more seafood in those two weeks then we had in a long time, and we vowed to rid ourselves of this weekday reluctance to cook fish at home.
We have all heard about the healthy fats that fish possess, specifically omega-3 fatty acids. This, along with its protein content, is reason enough to get more fish in your diet from a nutritional standpoint. We chose halibut for this recipe, as it provides a tender and meaty filet well-suited for pan cooking. Lentils pair beautifully with fish and are able to go head-to-head in terms of nutrition, as they are packed with protein and fiber along with a laundry list of vitamins and minerals. Oh, and they are also cheap and easy to prepare, which is certainly not something to overlook.
To top the whole dish off, we turn back to Spain for a mojo verde, which is a sauce commonly served with grilled fish. The sauce reminds us of chimichurri, with tons of flavor coming from cilantro and parsley. Normally, mild green peppers are used, but a few jalapeños never hurt anyone. Combined with garlic, lemon juice, a little olive oil and cumin, the sauce comes together in a food processor and is used to top the fish. We also dress the lentil salad with the same mojo verde combined with white wine vinegar for a little tanginess. Overall, this dish has bright and fresh flavors while being very filling thanks to the satiating main ingredients. And because it’s so light, you should definitely be serving it with a glass of chilled white wine.
1 bunch cilantro
½ bunch parsley
2 jalapenos, stems and seeds removed
3 cloves of garlic, peeled
Juice of 2 lemons
2 tablespoons olive oil
¼ teaspoon cumin
1 cup lentils, cooked and drained
1 cherry tomatoes, quartered
1 bell pepper, sliced thin
¼ cup white wine vinegar
Lemons for serving
2 tablespoons vegetable or canola oil
1 pound halibut filet (cod, bass, or salmon also work well with this dish)
- Remove stems from cilantro and parsley.
- Combine with jalapenos, garlic, lemon juice, and cumin in a food processor.
- Pulse until ingredients are coarsely chopped, about 10 one second pulses.
- Transfer to a bowl and slowly add the olive oil while whisking until oil is well incorporated. Salt to taste
- In a large bowl, combine the cooked lentils, cherry tomatoes, bell peppers, ½ the mojo verde, and the white wine vinegar. Gently toss and salt to taste.
- Use paper towels to press and dry all surfaces of the fish thoroughly and season with salt and pepper.
- Heat oil in large stainless steel skillet over medium-high heat.
- When oil is shimmering, add the fillets skin side down (or where skin would be if using skinless) and immediately lower the heat to medium-low.
- Use a spatula to gently press down on the back of the filets to ensure even contact with the pan for about 1 minute.
- Continue cooking until the fish is nearly to your preferred final internal temperature: 120°F for medium rare or 130°F for medium. This can take anywhere between 5-10 minutes depending on thickness.
- Check to make sure fish is easily coming loose from the pan, and flip, cooking until your final temperature is reached.
- Serve fish on a bed of lentil salad. Top with a dollop of reserved mojo verde and a squeeze of lemon juice.