Pistachio-Crusted Halibut with Blood Orange Sauce

I think I mentioned yesterday that my cooking has been rather uninspired as of late.  We’ve just been so busy lately that I can hardly tell whether I’m coming or going, much less cook something awesome, photograph it, write the recipe and then put it all in a blog post.  This week isn’t going to any different – we have our annual office holiday party to prep for (although I may have a couple of awesome hors d’oeuvres/appetizer recipes for you once that’s done), and we have The G Man this week while his mommy is out of town on a business trip.

Fun times but, coupled with work, leaves very little in the way of time for extracurricular activities.

Fortunately, I have a backlog of unpublished recipes.  Some turned out just kind of “meh” and the rest are going into, yes, the Great Fabled Cookbook.  This recipe is one of the latter.  I’ve decided to post it because 1) it’s delicious B) it’s seasonal and iii) it gives me a reason to come up with another seafood recipe for the book (I have conch in my freezer!).

If you’ve been reading here for any length of time at all, you know that when it comes to fish I’m quite fond of simple preparations served with sauces or salsas.  This is a good one, and fortunately blood oranges have just come into season.

I love blood oranges, which are so named because of their deeply colored, reddish interior.  Gory name aside, this is one of the tastiest members of the orange family, and are considered to be among the finest dessert oranges in the world.

Although they are best eaten fresh, blood oranges do lend themselves well to cooking and, like most citrus fruits, are marvelous with fish and seafood.  Here I’ve paired them with halibut, pistachios and Szechuan peppercorns for a light and quick dish that is slightly exotic and simply outstanding.

A note about Szechuan peppercorns:  Szechuan peppercorns belong to the rue, or citrus, family and are not closely related botanically to black pepper or chili peppers, despite name.  They are not hot or pungent, but instead have slight lemony overtones and create a tingly numbness in the mouth; they are quite interesting in citrus-based sauces or dishes.  The peppercorns are easily found in Asian markets and online, but if you can’t find them, don’t worry – the sauce will still be quite good without them.

You will likely not use all of the blood orange sauce, so the calorie and carb counts of the recipe are somewhat overstated.

Pistachio Crusted Halibut

Pistachio-Crusted Halibut with Blood Orange Sauce

Serves: 2
  • 2 halibut filets
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped pistachios
  • salt and freshly-ground black pepper
  • 2 medium blood oranges, juiced
  • 1 pinch kosher or sea salt
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 tablespoon whole Szechuan peppercorns
  • 1 tablespoon ghee or clarified butter
  1. Preheat oven to 350 F.
  2. Place the halibut filets in a lightly oiled glass baking dish; sprinkle with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Press the top of each with the chopped pistachios and bake for 18 to 20 minutes, or until the fish flakes easily with a fork.
  3. While the fish is baking, bring the blood orange juice to a boil in a medium saucepan over high heat. Reduce the heat slightly and add the salt, honey and peppercorns. Continue cooking, stirring frequently, until the mixture has reduced by half and becomes slightly syrupy. Stir in the butter until melted; remove from the heat and set aside.
  4. Pour about 1/4 cup of the blood orange sauce in the bottom of two wide, shallow plates (reserve any remaining sauce for another use). Top with the pistachio crusted fish and serve immediately.
  5. Nutrition (per serving): 363 calories, 14.4g total fat, 67.3mg cholesterol, 280.4mg sodium, 959.8mg potassium, 37.1g carbohydrates, 6.9g fiber, 9.8g sugar, 25.1g protein

10 thoughts on “Pistachio-Crusted Halibut with Blood Orange Sauce”

  1. Look, a seafood recipe! I’m hoping my Feast of the 7 Fishes will inspire you to come up with more recipes from the sea. This sounds delicious. Are blood oranges really in season? Maybe I’ll get some in my CSA box soon!

  2. That’s a great recipe and photo! I actually use Szechuan peppercorns a lot in my own cooking, usually with some star anise, but I’ve never seen it used this way.

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