Oil-Poached Halibut with Olives

Oil-Poached Halibut with Olives

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Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Servings: 4
Fish fillets, by definition, have no bones, but sometimes a few pin bones remain when the fillets are cut away from the body of the fish. To remove the pin bones, gently run your fingertips across the surface of the fillet (you will feel their sharp edges), then pull the bones out with needle-nose pliers or tweezers reserved for kitchen use.


  • 4 halibut, salmon or cod fillets, 1 1/2 lb. total, pin bones removed
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • 1 small bunch fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 2 to 3 cups olive oil
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 lb. red or white new potatoes, quartered
  • 2 Tbs. well-drained oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes
  • 6 to 8 Kalamata olives, pitted
  • 1 tsp. red wine vinegar, or to taste


Cook the fish
Season the fish fillets on both sides with salt and pepper. Remove enough of the parsley leaves to measure 2 heaping tablespoons; set the leaves aside and reserve the stems.

In a saucepan or large fry pan just large enough to hold the fillets in a single layer, pour in olive oil to a depth of half the thickness of the fillets. Add the garlic, bay leaf, reserved parsley stems and a few whole parsley sprigs to the oil. Heat the oil over medium-low heat until it reaches 170°F on an instant-read thermometer. Carefully add the fillets, skin side down, to the pan and cook, increasing the heat if needed to keep the oil from cooling too much, until the fillets are opaque throughout, about 15 minutes for halibut and 10 minutes for salmon or cod.

Cook the potatoes and prepare the topping
Meanwhile, bring a saucepan of water to a boil over high heat. Add the potatoes, cover and cook until tender, about 10 minutes. Combine the sun-dried tomatoes, olives and parsley leaves on a cutting board and chop finely. Transfer to a small bowl and stir in the vinegar to taste.

Using a slotted spatula, lift the fillets from the oil, letting as much oil as possible drain back into the pan, and transfer to plates. Spoon the topping over the fillets, accompany with the potatoes and serve immediately. Serves 4.

Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Food Made Fast Series, Seafood, by Jay Harlow (Oxmoor House, 2007).
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