Cooking the halibut by searing and then gently cooking in a low oven until it reaches 130°F keeps the halibut meltingly tender. Paired with a buttery curry sauce, this is a luxurious and flavorful dish.
1 bunch cilantro, rinsed and dried
1/2 bunch fresh mint, picked
2 cloves garlic, peeled
1/2 medium shallot, peeled
1 tablespoon freshly ground cumin
1-2 serrano chili pepper, seeds removed
Juice of 1 lemon
Salt, to taste
Granulated white sugar, to taste
1/4 cup water
½ cup neutral oil,grapeseed or canola work well (optional)
Butter vadouvan sauce
2 small yellow onions, roughly chopped
2 cloves of garlic, peeled
1/2 - 1 fresno chili pepper, deseeded
1 medium size ginger knob, peeled, chopped
½ cup ghee
2 tablespoons chili powder
2 tablespoons vadouvan (or your favorite curry blend)
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 14-ounce can tomato puree
1 tablespoon of fenugreek (if your curry blend doesn’t have it included)
1 cup heavy cream
4 ounces (1 stick) unsalted butter, cubed
For the halibut:
1 pound halibut filet, cut into two pieces
Granulated white sugar
For the chutney:
Put all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth. To emulsify the mixture, add the oil in a slow stream to the mixture and blend until smooth.
For the vadouvan sauce:
Put all ingredients except the ghee in a blender and blend until smooth. Heat the ghee in a medium sauce pan. When it’s melted and hot, add the blended base. Cook on medium high for 10 mins, stirring occasionally. Add the chili powder, vadouvan, tomato paste and puree and fenugreek, if using. Simmer on low heat for 30min, stirring occasionally. Add cream, then gradually whisk in butter, letting the cubes melt into the sauce before adding more. Stir until incorporated. Salt to taste.
For the halibut:
Heat oven to 200°F. Salt all sides of the halibut generously with kosher salt. Sprinkle tiny bit of sugar. Let sit for 10 minutes. Rinse with cold water.
Start with chilled fish. Pat it dry with a paper napkin. Oil the side you will be presenting (not skin side). Heat a cast iron pan to a medium high heat. Sear for about 2 minutes, gently pressing the fish.
After about a minute and a half, if the fish is not browned to your liking, turn up the heat. Transfer to a cool oven safe plate, seared side up. Season with salt and put into oven until desired temperature.130F is suggested.
Serve with mint-cilantro chutney over basmati rice, naan bread or roasted vegetables.
NOTE: To sous vide your fish, sous vide it at 130°F for 30 mins. Let your fish cool down a little bit after taking out of the sous vide, before searing, to prevent it from falling apart. Pat the fish dry with a paper napkin. Heat a cast iron pan with neutral oil, bring up to smoking point, sear the halibut on one side only until golden brown. Serve as directed above.
Alex Carpenter is a chef in the Boston area. Follow him on Instagram.