Tuesday , 16 January 2018

Halibut and Vegetables in Parchment


We didn’t get the chance to go to Findley Market Sunday like we usually do since we went grocery shopping on Saturday.  Actually we were at Findley Market Saturday, but I didn’t want to buy fresh fish on Saturday for Monday’s dinner, I prefer to use it either that same day or the day after.

So I sent my husband to Whole Foods Monday while I was in class with instructions to pick up fish and whole wheat pizza dough.  If they didn’t have artic char, he was supposed to get cod or something along those lines.  Note – he knows how much we eat and how I portion things.  For a fish meal for two of us we either buy ½ lb of a big side of fish or two fillets (for things like tilapia, sole, etc) that weigh 5 – 6 oz each.  That’s it.  After getting home from class I started cooking and when I go to get the package out of the fish it’s 1.15 pounds!  For two of us!  For one meal!  I was dying with laughter.

Considering my husband is the avowed fish hater I can’t imagine why on earth he would pick up over a pound of halibut for our meal.  I was wondering when we were talking and he mentioned how expensive it was.  In my head ½ lb of halibut = expensive, true.  Well it’s especially expensive when you buy over a pound.  He spent $26 on it!  And since I can’t bring myself to waste that much money we’re eating fish twice this week (I’m thinking a salad but the idea is still incubating in my head) so look out for another fish recipe tomorrow.  Poor man, he hates fish and now has to eat it two nights in a row.

That being said, we do love halibut for its mild flavor and firm texture so I guess if he had to spend a lot of money on a fish, at least it was halibut.

Cooking in parchment paper in an old technique, but one I’ve never actually tried.  My brain wasn’t working last night and I couldn’t come up with something new, so I slightly adapted Cooking Light’s Artic Char and Vegetables in Parchment Hearts.  And how cool is it that you literally cut out hearts; memories of kindergarten here I come.  Funny story – it was my husband’s “job” to make the hearts and after folding the paper in half he drew a full heart on it, not half a heart.  Luckily he asked me if it was ok and I fixed it.  Apparently he has no memory of ever doing that in elementary school which I’m pretty sure is standard fare around Valentine’s Day, just saying.  Although he does remember making handprint turkeys, but that’s an altogether different holiday.

Halibut and Vegetables in Parchment Hearts

Serves 2 – Time: 30 minutes


  • 1 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh basil (from my CSA share)
  • ½ teaspoon dried thyme
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • ½ lb halibut cut in 2 pieces
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon black pepper
  • Butter spray (optional)
  • 1/4 cup julienne-cut shallot (it was hanging out by it’s lonesome in the bottom of my pantry)
  • 1/4 cup julienne-cut bell pepper (I used a small purple one from my CSA)
  • 1/4 cup julienne-cut carrot
  • 1/4 cup julienne-cut snow peas
  • ½ cup of whole wheat couscous
  • ¾ cup of chicken stock
  • ¾ teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon dried parsley


Preheat oven to 450° and combine butter, lemon juice, basil, thyme, and garlic in a small bowl.

Cut 2 (15 x 24-inch) pieces of parchment paper. Fold in half crosswise. Draw a large heart half on each piece, with the fold of the paper along the center of the heart. Cut out the heart, and open.

Sprinkle both sides of fillets with salt and pepper. Place one fillet near fold of each parchment heart. Top each fillet with half the vegetables and spray with a bit of butter spray (optional).  Top with half of the softened butter/herb mixture. Start at the top of the heart and fold edges of parchment, sealing edges with narrow folds. Twist the end tip to secure tightly. Place packets on a baking sheet. Bake at 450° for 15 minutes.

While fish bakes, combine chicken stock, garlic powder, and parsley in small sauce pan.  Bring to a boil, and stir in couscous, immediately shutting off heat and covering the pan.  Allow to sit until fish is done baking.  Fluff with fork before serving.

Plate dinner – place half of couscous mixture (I actually used a bit less than half because ½ cup of uncooked couscous makes a lot of cooked couscous) onto plate.  Carefully cut open parchment packet, and arrange fish, vegetables, and “sauce” on top of couscous.  Serve.

Image of Halibut and Vegetables served over Garlic Couscous

The original recipe called for dill, and while I like dill I’m always reminded of pickles and I didn’t really want a “pickled” fish.  So I used dried thyme and threw in the fresh basil I had gotten from my CSA.  It also called for a teaspoon of lemon rind, but I’m not a huge lemon fan.  In fact, if I made this recipe again I would probably cut the lemon juice back to ½ tablespoon so the butter could really shine.  I also added garlic because I’m a garlic fanatic and there’s really not a savory dish around that I think couldn’t benefit from the addition of it.

Overall though, it was a good, solid weeknight meal.  I probably would have liked it more if I liked lemon more in general.  But once you mixed up the fish and vegetables with the garlic couscous the flavor soared.

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  1. I love that your hubby is such a helper in the kitchen! Mine is the official taste tester…and he takes that job seriously!
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