Crusted Halibut Fillets with Arugula Pesto

Crusted Halibut Fillets with Arugula Pesto

The combination of walnuts, breadcrumbs and butter makes for a delicious and crispy topping. Try it with other meats including pork, beef or chicken.  


For the Crust:

  • 1/4 cup panko breadcrumbs, whole-wheat
  • 1/4 cup finely ground California walnuts (pulsed in a food processor)
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

For the Arugula Pesto:

  • 2 1/2 cups chopped baby arugula, tightly packed
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 tablespoons chopped California walnuts
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1/2 teaspoon coarse kosher salt
  • 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon walnut oil

For the Halibut:

  • 3 tablespoons canola oil
  • 6 each – 4 ounce halibut fillets
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt


  1. Prepare the crust. Toast panko breadcrumbs and walnuts in a dry skillet over medium heat for approximately 5 minutes; tossing often. They will become lightly toasted and fragrant. Transfer to a mixing bowl. Add butter and salt then mix until well incorporated.
  2. Lay a large piece of parchment paper out on the counter and top with crust mixture. Cover with another large piece of parchment paper. Press down to flatten slightly then with a rolling pin; roll out to 1/4-inch thick. Place in freezer on a flat surface to set.
  3. Meanwhile prepare the arugula pesto. Toasts walnuts in a dry skillet over medium heat for approximately 5 minutes; tossing often. They will become lightly toasted and fragrant
  4. In a food processor, combine arugula, Parmesan cheese, walnuts, garlic and kosher salt. Turn on and slowly add in extra-virgin olive oil and walnut oil until a paste forms, approximately 30 seconds. Transfer to a bowl, cover with plastic wrap and place in refrigerator.
  5. Now prepare the halibut. Preheat broiler on high.
  6. Remove crust from the freezer. Keep the parchment paper on and using kitchen shears cut 6 pieces into the same size as the halibut fillets.
  7. Working in 2 separate sauté pans, evenly heat canola oil over medium-high heat. Season halibut fillets with kosher salt. Once the oil is hot and smoking; add 3 halibut fillets per pan and sear for 5 minutes on one side then flip and sear for 3 minutes longer on the other side. Working in 2 pans will allow the fillets to cook evenly and not be over crowded in the pan.
  8. Remove one side of parchment paper from the crust and top each piece of halibut. Peel away the second side of parchment, repeating until all 6 are topped.
  9. Transfer the sauté pans under the broiler for approximately 2 minutes or until crust is golden brown and toasted.
  10. Spoon arugula pesto on the bottom of a large serving platter. Place crusted halibut on top and serve family style.