This is the ideal recipe for a light yet fulfilling meal and is perfect for all seasons.
- 1 3/4 pounds fresh halibut steak
- Salt and freshly ground pepper
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 small fresh hot pepper
- 4 – 6 baby red onions
- 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 medium red onion, grated
- 2 medium tomatoes, halved, seeded, and grated
- 1 head of garlic cloves separated
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste
- 1 teaspoon ground coriander seeds
- 1 cup brine-cured olives, rinsed and drained
- Flour for dusting
- 4 cherry tomatoes
- 1/4 cup capers, rinsed and drained
- 1/2 preserved lemon peel, rinsed, drained, and cut into thin julienne
- 1/2 cup finely chopped, toasted California walnuts
- 1 tablespoon chopped celery leaves
- Rinse the fish, pat dry with paper towels, and divide into 6 equal pieces. Season each piece with salt, pepper, and ground cumin. Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.
- Steam the hot pepper and the baby onions until almost tender, about 10 minutes. Stem, seed and coarsely chop the pepper. Peel the onions.
- In a deep-sided medium skillet, heat 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil. Add the grated red onion and cook over medium heat, stirring for 3-4 minutes until softened. Add the tomatoes and cook until the excess moisture evaporates, about 7 minutes. Add the garlic, tomato paste, ground coriander, olives, steamed chopped hot pepper, baby onions, and 1 cup water. Cover and cook over medium heat for 10 minutes. The sauce should be thin, light, and very hot.
- Heat the remaining 1 tablespoon of oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Dust the seasoned fish with flour and fry, skin side down in the hot oil for 2 minutes or until the skin is crispy. Turn each piece of fish, fry for 1 minute then pour the hot sauce over the fish. Add the cherry tomatoes, capers, and preserved lemon peel and simmer over low heat for 1 more minute. Remove from the heat, cover, and let stand for 15 minutes before serving. The fish will finish cooking in the receding heat.
- Garnish with walnuts and chopped celery leaves.