over summer rainbow chard

Halibut is a versatile, white flaky fish that’s the perfect center for a summer dish.  In this recipe, it’s pan-roasted to a beautiful golden brown, imparting savory flavor and a crisp texture to this delicately flavored fish.  Bacon adds depth to the smooth tomato broth, and colorful summer chard provides a vehicle for soaking it all up. 

INGREDIENTS                                                                                                       Serves 8
8 six-ounce skinless Halibut fillets, bones removed
Canola oil
Extra-virgin olive oil
8 ounces bacon, cut into small lardon
½ onion, small dice
5 small garlic cloves, minced, separated
1 sprig thyme
16 ounces fresh ripe tomatoes, small dice
1 teaspoon whole black peppercorns
4 cups vegetable broth (water could be substituted)
Kosher salt & freshly ground black pepper
4 pounds rainbow chard, washed, stems removed and reserved, leaves sliced crosswise
into 1-inch strips


In a large saucepan over medium heat, slowly render the bacon until golden.  Remove bacon from the pan and drain on paper towels and set aside.  Discard all excess bacon fat.

 In the same saucepan, sweat the onion and half of the minced garlic in olive oil until translucent and fragrant with no color, stirring occasionally.  Add the tomatoes, thyme and peppercorns.  Cook this mixture until all water has evaporated, and until it reaches a paste-like consistency.  Add the bacon and vegetable broth (or water) and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat and simmer for at least one hour.  Strain out all solids and degrease as necessary.  Season to taste with kosher salt and freshly ground pepper.  Reserve.

 Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.  Blanch chard stems until tender, about 4 minutes.  Reserve on a sheet tray lined with parchment.  In the meantime, add 1 tablespoon of extra-virgin olive oil to a large sauté pan.  Sweat garlic until translucent and add chard.  Season with kosher salt and freshly ground pepper.  Toss chard and cook until tender and wilted.  Reserve with the stems on parchment.

 Preheat your oven to 350°F.  Season both sides of the fillets with salt and freshly ground pepper.  Use two large ovenproof sauté pans to prepare all eight fillets at the same time.  Heat pans over high heat with enough canola oil to cover the bottom until the oil shimmers.  Add four halibut fillets to each side, presentation side down, and lower the heat to medium-high.  Cook for 4-5 minutes, or until the bottom of the fish is golden.  

 Transfer the pans to the oven and cook about 2 minutes more, or until the fish is just cooked through.  Remove the pans from the oven, flip the fillets and cook the second side for about 30 seconds.  Remove to a rack until ready to plate.

 If necessary, reheat your broth in a saucepan over medium heat.  Reheat chard leaves and stems in a large sauté pan until just warmed through.

 For plating, use a large, rimmed dinner plate, or an individual pasta bowl to hold the tomato-bacon broth.  

 To serve, place a serving of chard leaves and stems in the center of your warmed plate.  Top with one halibut fillet.  Pour the tomato-bacon broth around the chard and garnish the top of the fish with a green pea shoot.