Halibut with Fennel, Peppers, and Tomatoes

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Photography Credit: Sally Vargas

My mom used to say that by the 4th of July, summer was over. Thanks for that, Mom.

Never mind. Unlike her, I am all about seizing the (summer) day, and this one-pan recipe for halibut with loads of fresh vegetables does that for me.

It’s colorful. It’s quick. It’s full of flavor and light but satisfying for these last days of warm weather. Plus there’s only one pan to wash at the end of the meal. Who doesn’t get excited about that?

If cooking fish makes you nervous, this recipe is for you. Just place the fillets on top of the vegetables and pop the pan in the oven. Done.

Halibut with Vegetables

An instant-read thermometer is a boon to second guessers who worry the fish is cooked through. For halibut, the ideal temperature in the thickest part of the fish is 135°F. The heat ticks up a few degrees when the fish comes out of the oven, so it finishes perfectly.

Halibut with Fennel, Peppers, and Tomatoes Recipe

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  • Prep time: 15 minutes
  • Cook time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: 4 servings

Ingredients

  • 4 halibut fillets (6 ounces each)
  • 4 teaspoons lemon juice
  • Leaves from 1 sprig rosemary
  • Leaves from 2 stems thyme
  • Leaves from 2 stems basil
  • Leaves from 2 stems oregano
  • 1/2 cup Panko breadcrumbs
  • 2 teaspoons plus 2 tablespoons plus olive oil
  • 1/2 medium red onion, sliced
  • 1 bulb fennel, cored and sliced
  • 1 yellow bell pepper, seeded and sliced into strips
  • 1 orange bell pepper, seeded and sliced into strips
  • 4 Roma (plum) tomatoes, halved lengthwise and cut into strips
  • 1/2 cup pitted Kalamata olives
  • 3 tablespoons chopped parsley (to garnish)
  • 1 lemon, quartered (to garnish)

Special equipment:

Method

1 Prep the fish: Preheat the oven to 425° F. Place the halibut fillets on a large plate and season both sides with salt and pepper. Sprinkle each fillet with 1 teaspoon lemon juice.

2 Prep the herbs and Panko: Combine the herbs on a cutting board and coarsely chop. In a small bowl, combine the Panko, 2 teaspoons of the oil, and a pinch each of salt and pepper.

3 Cook the vegetables: In a large, oven-proof skillet, heat the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil over medium heat. Add the onion and cook for 3 to 4 minutes, or until it begins to soften. Add the fennel and bell pepper slices, and cook for 5 minutes. Add the tomatoes, olives, and the chopped herbs. Cook for 3 minutes. Salt and pepper to taste.

Halibut with Vegetables

4 Bake the fish: Place the fish fillets on top of the vegetables in the skillet. Sprinkle each fillet with 2 tablespoons of the Panko mixture. Place the skillet in the oven and bake for 6 minutes. Check the fish: if the panko is browning too quickly, place a piece of aluminum foil loosely on top of the fish.

Bake another 6 to 9 minutes (12 to 15 minutes total), until the center of the fish is opaque when probed with a small knife. If you have an instant read thermometer, the temperature of the center of the fish should register a 135°F.

Halibut with Vegetables

5 Serve: Divide the vegetables between four plates and top each plate with a fish fillet. Sprinkle with parsley and serve with lemon wedges.

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Sally Vargas

Sally Pasley Vargas is a freelance writer and the author of two cookbooks (Food for Friends and The Tao of Cooking, Ten Speed Press). She currently writes the column The Confident Cook for The Boston Globe along with seasonal recipes for the Wednesday Food Section.

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Halibut with Vegetables

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