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Celebrate citrus season with this pan-seared halibut topped with fresh, bright salsa.
Parents use a lot of tricks to get their kids to try new foods. Personally, I’m not a huge fan of sneaking “healthy” foods into other foods to achieve the required amount of vegetables each day. I’d rather my boys give me an outright no rather than hide spinach in their chocolate pudding. But introducing a new ingredient or flavor paired with a familiar favorite? Yep, I’ve found no better way to get them to be more adventurous at the dinner table.
Today I’ve cooked up a gorgeous piece of halibut topped with a fresh and bright citrus salsa. And since we’re talking kids and their preferences, one would logically assume that I topped the fish with something fruity and sweet to encourage my children to eat the it. Well, for my two little weirdos, it’s actually flipped.
They love fish. Always have. There’s no magic here and there’s honestly nothing special I remember doing to get them to love it. Trust me, if I had a magic wand, as a family we would always be ordering pizza topped with anchovies or snacking on chicken liver mousse generously smeared on brioche toast points. But alas, I live in a wandless, pizza-toppingless reality.
But citrus? Have you ever met a kid that didn’t like an orange?? Well, somehow I ended up with two.
I’ve made a thousand attempts over the years to get my boys to eat (or drink) an orange. From a simple glass of orange juice to a sweet little segment, they’ve always been less than receptive. While Jack (the older) will grab a forkful of citrus in the form of pie (lemon meringue or key lime), he’s never warmed to the idea of peeling an orange and just taking a bite. And Max (the younger) cannot even be persuaded to have an orange popsicle or lollipop, let alone a bite of the actual fruit.
So of course I did what every mom would do. I whipped up a zingy little citrus salsa and spooned it over a perfectly seared piece of halibut. I used the fish as citrus bait.
Conventional? No. Effective? Yeah. They initially resisted, but the pull of that golden brown fish proved too much. They gave it a go and while they weren’t a hundred percent sold, they did some fine eating and bonus, very little complaining. Turns out the mild, meaty halibut was the perfect counter to that bright, winter salsa.
Now there was zero persuading required for husband or me to eat our dinner. We both tucked right into our fish piled high with generous spoonfuls of citrus. Sweet oranges, sweet/tart grapefruit, a little punch from some freshly grated ginger, a sprinkling of lime zest and smattering of chives. Just wow.
This is one of those dinners that make January clean-eating not only less painful, but downright delicious. And if it encouraged my two anti-orange eaters to come around, just imagine what it could do for the fish-phobe in your house.
- 4 - 6 oz halibut filets skin and pin bones removed
- Kosher salt
- 2 Tbsp canola or vegetable oil
- Citrus Salsa
- 1 large grapefruit segmented and diced
- 2 large oranges segmented and diced
- 1 tsp fresh grated ginger
- 1 tsp lime zest
- 1 Tbsp chives minced
- 2 tsp extra virgin olive oil
- Kosher salt and pepper
Pan-seared Halibut: Season fish on both sides with salt.
Heat oil in a large non-stick saute pan until hot but not smoking.
Lay fish in the pan presentation-side down (the prettier side) and sear undisturbed until golden, about 3 mins.
Carefully flip and sear tor 2 mins, then reduce the heat to medium to finish cooking, about 3 more minutes, depending on the size of your filets.
Citrus Salsa: Combine all the ingredients in a medium bowl and carefully toss together.
To serve: Spoon the salsa over the top of the fish and enjoy!