Just for the Halibut (with Pesto)

OK, so I have been feeling a little self conscious after last night’s dinner post. I don’t know that I’ve ever seen someone else blog about making a shitty meal, so I guess I’m a pioneer in that arena. I needed to make something delicious and pretty tonight in order to redeem my ego and my food cred.

The weather was calling for something fresh & light, it was 75° and gorgeous today. I went back to one of my old faves, Grilled Halibut with Pesto and Arugula from Epicurious.  The problem was Oliver. He doesn’t eat fish, wouldn’t like arugula and I was pretty sure he wasn’t going to dig the pesto. I am not the mom who makes multiple dinners, we have a rule that he has to try something, even if he doesn’t like it and spits it out. I made a slight dinner modification and got him chicken breast tenders, but  prepared both the halibut and chicken the same way. Olive oil, salt, pepper – baked at 400°. 12 min for the halibut, 15 for the chicken. I served with quinoa and steamed green beans. Healthy , delish and on the table in 30 minutes, a winning combo. Also makes a lovely summer dinner to serve for guests.

He tried a little bit of the pesto on his chicken, hated it and spit it out. He ate the rest of the dinner, good compromise. And the best part is I got to eat exactly what I wanted for dinner.

Halibut with Pesto

Grilled Halibut with Pesto and Arugula courtesy of Epicurious


  • 4 8-ounce halibut fillets
  • 6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 1/2 cup Classic Pesto (recipe to follow)
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 3 cups arugula leaves


  1. Prepare barbecue (medium-high heat). Brush each halibut fillet with 1 tablespoon oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Grill until just opaque in center, about 4 minutes per side. Spread each fillet with thin layer of pesto, dividing equally. (NOTE – as I said, I prepared mine in the oven. I had 1lb halibut cut into 2 fillets, cooked at 400° for 12 minutes)
  2. Whisk lemon juice and remaining 2 tablespoons oil in medium bowl to blend. Add arugula; toss to coat. Divide arugula among 4 plates; top with grilled halibut

Serves 4

Making pesto literally could not be easier. And it tastes so good. If you haven’t made your own pesto, you will kick yourself for not doing it sooner. Mini Cuisinart, 7 ingredients, boom, done. If I was smart(er), I would have made like 6 times the recipe and stuck it in the freezer, it freezes beautifully. Another day…

Classic Pesto  courtesy of Bon Appétit


  • 4 cups fresh basil leaves (from about 3 large bunches)
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1/3 cup pine nuts
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 cup freshly grated pecorino Sardo or Parmesan cheese
  • 1 teaspoon coarse kosher salt


  • Combine first 4 ingredients in blender or food processor. Blend until paste forms, stopping often to push down basil. Add both cheeses and salt; blend until smooth. Transfer to small bowl. (Can be made 1 day ahead. Top with 1/2 inch olive oil and chill.)

Makes 1 cup

5 thoughts on “Just for the Halibut (with Pesto)

  1. Valerie

    I cooked halibut once and under cooked it- Complete gross disaster. I have not really recovered 2 years later. Maybe I will give it another try.

  2. Cheryl R

    So I showed the photo and description to my son and his comment was something along the lines of, “sure beats your odd chicken and undercooked rice tonight.” Winning.

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