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Seared Halibut with Cherry Tomatoes and Basil


1 pint cherry or grape tomatoes, preferably mixed colors, halved
2 medium garlic cloves, minced
1 tsp red wine vinegar
Freshly ground black pepper
Four 6-oz skinless halibut fillets
3 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
2 Tbsp chopped fresh basil


Searing tips

When searing a piece of meat or fish: Get the pan good and hot. If the food doesn’t sizzle when you place it in the oil, take it out and give the pan another minute or two to heat up. Don’t overcrowd the pan, or the temperature will drop and the food will steam instead of sear. Resist the urge to move or flip the food before it has fully seared. It will release more easily—and, if you move it around too much, it won’t develop that lovely brown color and crust.

How to

1. In a medium bowl, combine the tomatoes, garlic, vinegar, a heaping 1/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/8 teaspoon pepper. Set aside.

2. Season the halibut all over with 3/4 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper.

3. Heat 2 tablespoons of the oil in a skillet over medium-high heat until hot and shimmering. Place the fish, presentation-side down, in the pan and cook, without touching, until golden brown and crisp, about 3 minutes. Flip the fish and lower the heat to medium; continue cooking until the halibut is just firm to the touch and opaque when you pry open a thicker piece with a paring knife, 3 to 4 minutes. Transfer the cooked halibut to a plate or serving platter.

4. Add the remaining 1 tablespoon oil to the pan, followed by the cherry tomato mixture. Cook, stirring occasionally, over medium heat until the tomatoes start to break down and release their juices, a few minutes. Stir in the basil, then taste and adjust the seasoning, if necessary.

5. Serve the halibut fillets with the tomatoes spooned over the top and alongside.

Recipe credit: Once Upon a Chef by Jennifer Segal