Confession time: I’m learning to like fish.
Growing up in the Midwest, I only ate fish during Lent at our church’s Friday night fish fry. Our menu consisted of breaded, deep-fried versions of haddock or Lake Michigan perch with sides of fries, coleslaw and rye bread. Not only did we eat at the fish fry, but our duties as parishioners meant we got to help!
As kids, Mom (also a volunteer) relegated us to cleaning tables or the dishes. Under no circumstances could we take orders or serve. I think she wanted to prevent her horrific visions of us serving customers their requests on their laps or the floor. Yes, we were admittedly clumsy kids at times, but we knew deep inside that we could be careful.
Every time we volunteered, we pouted: Any other duty but the kitchen! My sister and I always thought it so unfair (drama here) that the adults took orders and served while our hands burned in the bleach-filled, semi-soapy, hotter-than-heck water.
So that’s what (little) I knew about eating fish. I remember eating quickly, swallowing down greasy bites of haddock and mayonnaise-tasting cole slaw between my kitchen shifts. I needed to eat fast and return to the kitchen, submerging my arms up to my elbows in dirty dishwater.
It wasn’t until I grew older and my tastes changed with some of the population toward healthier preparation choices. And being relieved of volunteer fish fry duties, I could slow down and enjoy a bite. Grilled, poached, baked, papillote–these replaced the conventional fryer and fish sticks with moist, flavorful, and delicate fish creations. These days, there’s so many menu choices around fish, both at home and out.
Since we don’t have a coastline in Utah (not counting the Great Salt Lake with its briny occupants), we frequently purchase frozen wild-caught fish. I like the individually wrapped packages as it makes it easy for our 2-person household to make do when one or the other can’t be home for dinner. You simply unwrap a fish, microwave defrost and pan cook or bake in minutes. On some nights we get creative with topping the fish with our own inspired combinations. However, last night, being tired from a long chore-filled weekend our tired brains sought some Google inspiration to correspond our pantry to our pan. The items on-hand for our to-be recipe included parsley, garlic, almond meal.
The end result? We found a Gluten-Free Parsley and Almond-Crusted Halibut Recipe with the added benefit of being paleo. After adding a couple of vegetable sides (mashed potatoes and rainbow chard), dinner came together beautifully. We’ve grilled our halibut before with mixed results–sometimes it came out a bit on the dry side. The baking process seemed moister and the topping amazingly tasty.
My biggest complaint about fish is that I don’t always feel full after eating it. This time, the topping seemed to make it a bit hardier, despite it tasting light overall. I hope you enjoy the recipe. Feel free to share any substitutions or things you think would make it even better. Or links to your favorite halibut recipe. I’d love to hear from you.
- 2 wild-caught halibut fillets
- 1/2 cup almond meal (I prefer Honeyville)
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 Tbsp finely diced red onion
- 1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt, or to taste
- 1/4 to teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, or to taste
- 2 Tbsp coconut oil, butter or ghee, melted
- Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
- Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Rinse the fish and pat dry. In a medium bowl, mix together the almond meal, minced garlic, onion, parsley, salt and pepper.
- Place the halibut on the baking sheet. Spoon the almond mixture on top of each halibut. Use your fingers to gently press the almond mixture down a bit to keep it on top of the halibut.
- Pour the melted coconut oil, butter or ghee over the top of the halibut.
- Bake for 12-14 minutes depending on the thickness of your halibut.
- If you double the recipe, be sure to keep the halibut spaced apart sufficiently to keep the sides exposed for baking.