Halibut is my new favorite fish! It’s white and meaty and not at all “fishy.” It’s actually like a flounder steak – which is interesting because Halibut are flat like flounder and come from the flounder family. The name Halibut is derived from haly (holy) and butt (flat fish) because it’s eaten very often on Christian holy days. Found in the North Pacific and North Atlantic Oceans, Halibut are highly regarded food fish. 

Halibut tend to be expensive costing anywhere from $25 to $45 per pound. And, they’re totally worth the money! I recently bought a five pound piece of Halibut fillet, cut it into 16 large portions and froze them to eat this spring and summer. I have a great recipe for Herbed Halibut in my new cookbook, Celebrate Everything! Other than that, I haven’t had much experience cooking the delish fish. I didn’t grow up eating it so I had to come up with some new recipes. 

This recipe for Halibut with Olive Tappenade was created when I had leftover Olive Tappenade from a catering event. The combination of the three olives, herbs, garlic, lemon, capers and anchovies are perfect with the flesh of the flaky white fish. I served our Halibut fillets over a bed of mesclun greens topped with a simple farro salad. You’re going to LOVE this recipe!

p.s. If you prefer a less expensive fish, try this recipe with tilapia — just reduce the cooking time to 12 to 15 minutes. Enjoy!

Halibut with Olive Tapenade
For the tappenade:
1 cup kalamata olives, pitted
10 oil-cured olives, pitted
1 cup green olives, pitted
1 tablespoon capers, drained
3 canned anchovy fillets
1 garlic clove, chopped
1 tablespoon chopped fresh Italian parsley
2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme
1 teaspoon lemon zest
¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Combine all tapenade ingredients in a food processor, pulse 10 times or until olives are finely chopped.
For the halibut:
4 (4 to 5-ounce) center-cut halibut fillets, about 1-inch thick
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper
Drizzle the hailbut on both sides with olive oil. Season on both sides with salt and pepper. Place fillets in a lightly greased baking dish and top each one evenly with olive tappenade. Bake in a preheated 400 degree oven for 15 to 17 minutes or until the fish flakes easily. Serves 4.

 Debbi Covington is a chef, caterer, cookbook author and food columnist from Beaufort, SC. She has written two cookbooks, Celebrate Everything! and Dining Under the Carolina Moon. Debbi writes the food column “Everyday Gourmet” in Beaufort’s Lowcountry Weekly newspaper and is a partner/food columnist with DIY Wedding Magazine. Debbi has been featured as a “Master of Entertaining” in Southern Living magazine and her recipes have been published in multiple cookbooks including Southern Living’s Best Kept Secrets of the South’s Best Cooks and The Best of The Best of South Carolina. Her food has been photographed for Better Homes and Gardens Magazine. She has been voted “Best Caterer” in Beaufort, SC since 2010. Debbi has a passion for cuisine and delights in creating seasonal and locally inspired menus.