Roasted Halibut with Burst Tomatoes
Published Aug 18, 2015•Updated Mar 07, 2023
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Oven roasted halibut with burst tomatoes checks all of the boxes: gluten-free, keto-friendly, and healthy. All it takes is one pan to prepare, and you’ll have a perfectly crispy on-the-outside, tender on-the-inside baked fish dinner.
Roasted halibut with burst tomatoes and a simple basil pesto will remind you of your favorite restaurant’s best seafood dish. You know the dish. It’s the one with the beautiful piece of perfectly cooked fish, and the blistered veggies, and the simple cooked-in-its-own juice sauce spooned over the top.
This easy, healthy fish recipe takes just 30 minutes to cook and can be on the table in no time. Searing the halibut in the pan first to create a crispy outside and then roasting it in the oven with the tomatoes to finish prevents overcooking and allows the fish to continue cooking right in the juice of the sweet cherry tomatoes. Top it with fresh basil pesto and a squeeze of lemon for the most amazing weeknight dinner.
What is halibut?
Chefs love working with halibut. This “barn door” sized fish lives in the northernmost part of the Pacific ocean, and is one of the most sustainable and versatile types of fish you can purchase. Halibut can be roasted, sautéed, boiled, and grilled! Halibut has a mild, “non-fishy” flavor that works great with so many ingredients and sauces – especially fresh veggies.
How to Make
- Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F.
- Season the halibut with salt and pepper.
- Heat an oven-safe skillet over medium-high heat, and sear the halibut on one side for 2 minutes. Transfer the fish to a plate.
- Add tomatoes, garlic, and salt, and cook for 4 to 5 minutes. You will know the tomatoes are done when they begin to burst.
- Return the halibut to the pan with the seared side facing up.
- Bake for 10 to 15 minutes
- Squeeze the lemon over the dish, and spoon the pesto over the halibut.
- Halibut filets – To pick a good halibut filet, look for fish that has a uniform white sheen to it. Avoid filets that look yellow or dried out, as these may be past peak freshness.
- Olive oil – You can use extra virgin olive oil or virgin olive oil to help maintain the fish’s moisture while it bakes.
- Cherry tomatoes – Cherry tomatoes have an amazing “pop” of juice when you bite into them. They’re also just a little sweet, and that sweetness is wonderful with the other savory flavors. Purchase a carton of gold cherry tomatoes and a carton of red for a fun rainbow look.
- Garlic, Kosher salt – Cooking the minced garlic and salt together with the tomatoes brings all of the flavors together.
- Lemon – When you add lemon juice to roasted halibut, it lightens up the fish with its acidity.
- Basil pesto – Just a few spoonfuls of fresh basil pesto makes this easy weeknight dinner sing.
- To prevent overcooking, use a meat thermometer to check the halibut after it’s been in the oven for about 10 minutes. Halibut should reach a temperature of 135 degrees F. If the fish needs a little more cook time to achieve that temperature, give it another 2 minutes, and then recheck.
- Add greens – Toss greens like curly kale, Swiss chard, or spinach in with the halibut before roasting for more healthy green veggies.
- Try a different fish – Pan-searing and then roasting is a cooking method that works with so many types of white fish. Try substituting halibut with cod, snapper, flounder, or sole.
Halibut is considered a healthy, lean protein that’s low in both fat and calories. This fish is also full of heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin B12, vitamin D, and magnesium.
Halibut freezes really well, so you should have no problem using frozen halibut in this recipe. To thaw frozen halibut, place the frozen filet in an airtight freezer bag and submerge in cold water. This will gradually and safely bring down the temperature of the fish. When the center of the fish softens, it’s ready to cook.
Thicker pieces of fish can be a little tricky to cook. You don’t want to undercook the fish, but if you overcook halibut it will become tough and dry. This recipe prevents overcooking by searing the fish first, and then allowing it to finish cooking in the juice of the cherry tomatoes. This extra juice will help the halibut maintain a tender, but firm texture.
More Weeknight Seafood Meals
- Broiled Honey Lime Salmon
- Moroccan-Spiced Salmon with Vegetable Couscous
- Shrimp and Chive Dumplings
- Cajun Fish with Sweet Peppers
- Salmon Burgers with Creamy Lemon Herb Sauce
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Roasted Halibut with Burst Tomatoes Recipe
- oven-safe skillet
- 4 small halibut filets (6 to 8 ounces each)
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 pints cherry tomatoes (I like to use a mix of red and gold)
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 lemon, sliced into wedges
- 1/2 cup basil pesto
- Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F.
- Season the halibut generously on both sides with salt and pepper.
- Place an oven-safe skillet over medium-high heat. Add the halibut to the heated skillet and sear on one side until a golden crust forms, about 2 minutes. (Do not cook the halibut all the way through). Transfer the halibut to a plate and set it aside.
- With the skillet still over medium-high heat, add the tomatoes, garlic, and salt. Cook the tomatoes until a few start to burst, 4 to 5 minutes.
- Nestle the halibut in the burst tomatoes with the seared side facing up.
- Bake until the fish is cooked through, 10 to 15 minutes.
- Squeeze the lemon wedges over the entire dish and spoon the pesto over the halibut. Serve immediately.
Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.