Chef Drew Johnson
Kincaid Grill in Anchorage, Alaska, is close to the source for wild halibut, so chef Johnson puts it on the menu frequently. Here, he prepares it Southeast Asian-style, pan-searing the fish in coconut oil and flavoring the mango salsa with fish sauce and sambal. An accompaniment of coconut rice rounds out the dish.
1 cup basmati rice
¾ cup coconut milk
¾ cup water
Salt, to taste
2 ripe mangoes, peeled and diced
1 bunch scallions, sliced
1 tbsp. sambal olek
1 tbsp. lime juice
2 tsp. fish sauce
2 tsp. sugar
4 portions (8 oz. each) halibut, skin removed
3 tbsp. coconut oil
Salt, to taste
1. Prepare coconut rice: Rinse rice several times until water runs clear. In medium saucepan, combine rice, coconut milk, water and salt. Place over high heat and bring to a boil; stir to prevent sticking.
2. Cover with tight-fitting lid and reduce heat to low. Cook 15 minutes; remove from heat and let stand 5 to 10 minutes before serving.
3. Prepare mango salsa: In bowl, combine mangoes, scallions, sambal, lime juice, fish sauce and sugar; check for seasoning. Add more fish sauce to taste, if needed. Set aside.
4. Prepare halibut: With paper towels, pat halibut dry until no moisture remains on outside of fish. Season generously with salt.
5. Meanwhile, heat a cast-iron skillet over medium high heat. Add the coconut oil. Once the oil is hot, add halibut to pan. Do not try to turn the fish until it has a hard sear on the outside, about 3 to 4 minutes. Once seared the halibut will “let go” of the pan and can be easily turned with a fish spatula.
6. Flip fish and sear other side until internal temperature reaches 120 F. Serve immediately with mango salsa and coconut rice.
Photograph courtesy of Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute
At the restaurant, Chef Johnson likes to blend some of the mango salsa before adding the scallions and use this as a puree to garnish the halibut and the plate. To further dress up the dish, he serves it with broccolini and a bit of warmed coconut milk.