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Pan Roasted Halibut in Spicy Coconut Broth

By Chef John Ash

This is a delicious dish that can be done with any fresh, meaty and sustainable fish. It uses a curry mixture called laksa, which has come to mean a spicy coconut milk based dish with or without noodles. It has its roots in Malaysia. In place of the spinach, you could use other Asian greens like steamed baby bok choy.

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    Serves 4

    Total Time

    Prep Time

    Difficulty Level Medium


    4 Fillets of fresh halibut cut at least 3/4 inch thick

    Salt and Freshly ground pepper

    3 tbs Olive oil

    6 C Lightly packed young spinach

    1/2 C Chicken stock

    3/4 C Coconut milk, well stirred

    3/4 C Laksa Paste to taste

    Laksa Paste

    2 tbs Chili garlic sauce

    1/3 C Chopped shallots

    1/3 C Chopped and toasted macadamia nuts or blanched almonds

    1/4 C Peeled and finely chopped ginger

    2 tbs Coriander seds, toasted and ground

    2 tbs Fish sauce, to taste

    2 Large Limes, Juice and Zest

    2 tsp Sugar

    2 tbs Vegetable oil

    1 tsp Toasted sesame oil

    1/2 C Coconut milk


    1. Pat the salmon dry, season lightly with salt and pepper. Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in an ovenproof sauté pan (preferably non-stick) over moderately high heat and quickly sauté on one side until nicely browned. Turn fish over and place pan in a preheated 475-degree oven for 4 - 5 minutes or until just cooked through but still translucent in the middle.

    2. While fish is cooking heat the stock and coconut milk in a small sauce pan and bring to a simmer. Stir in laksa paste and keep warm. Thin if desired with additional stock or coconut milk.

    3. To serve add remaining tablespoon of oil to a large skillet and heat over moderately high heat. Add spinach stir-fry until just beginning to wilt, about 1 minute. Place spinach in the center of shallow warm bowls and top with halibut. Ladle broth around, top with sprouts and serve immediately.

    4. Laksa Paste Makes a little more than a cup Add all ingredients to a blender and process for a couple of minutes or until very smooth. Store covered in the refrigerator for up to 5 days or frozen for up to 3 months.

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