Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Recipe for Grilled Halibut with Basil Vinaigrette (And Ten More Ideas for Using Basil Vinaigrette)

Grilled Halibut with Basil Vinaigrette
I think Basil Vinaigrette is one of the best things about summer, and it's perfect spooned over Grilled Halibut.

(Updated with better photos and step-by-step instructions in June 2013.)  For many summers now I've been infatuated with Basil Vinaigrette, which I love to eat drizzled over tomatoes or grilled vegetables.  I first posted this Grilled Halibut with Basil Vinaigrette as an idea for using leftover basil vinaigrette, but this combination is so wonderful that I'd make basil vinaigrette just so I could cook this.  The dressing will keep in the refrigerator for a week or a little longer, so check after the recipe for other ideas for using it.

Use a food processor or the bowl attachment of an immersion blender to chop together the fresh basil and olive oil to make basil puree.  (I've been freezing fresh basil for years, and you can freeze the extra basil puree as well.)

Then whisk together your favorite purchased or homemade vinaigrette and several tablespoons of the basil puree to make the vinaigrette.

To cook the halibut, take it out of the fridge and let it come to room temperature.  If the fish looks wet, blot away the excess moisture by pressing down with paper towels.  While fish comes to room temperature, spray the grill grates with non-stick grill spray or rub with a high smoke point oil (like grapeseed.)  Heat the grill to high.

Rub both sides of the fish with olive oil and fish rub.  (I love Szeged Fish Rub, which I order by the case from Amazon.com now that I can't find it in my stores any more.)

When fish is room temperature, lay top-side down at an angle to the grill grates and immediately turn the temperature to medium-high (or even medium if your grill cooks hot.)  Cook about 3-4 minutes in this position, then check grill marks and rotate.  Cook about 2-3 minutes more before turning.

When you have good grill marks on the first side, carefully turn the fish over and cook 2-3 minutes on the other side.  Total cooking time will be 8-10 minutes, depending on the thickness of the fish and temperature of the grill.  Serve hot, with basil vinaigrette spooned over.

Here's the original photo of this recipe from 2006, and if there was ever a photo that needed updating, this has to be it.

Grilled Halibut with Basil Vinaigrette
(Makes enough basil vinaigrette for at least 4 pieces of halibut; recipe created by Kalyn)

halibut fillets, one per person
(I used frozen halibut from Costco which had thawed in the refrigerator, but if you have access to fresh halibut it would be fantastic)
olive oil for rubbing fish
fish rub (I love Szeged Fish Rub, but there are many good brands.)
basil vinaigrette, about 2 T per piece of halibut

For basil puree:
1 cup fresh basil leaves (washed, spun dry, and packed into the measuring cup)
1/4 - 1/2 cup olive oil (depending on how strong you want the basil flavor to be)
(You can freeze the leftovers for another use, or make half this much if you're short on basil.)

For basil vinaigrette:
6 T your favorite no-sugar vinaigrette dressing
(I love to make this with Le Parisien Vinaigrette, which is only sold in the west.  Newman's Own Olive Oil and Vinegar Dressing is another good choice.)
2 T basil puree

To make basil puree, wash the basil leaves and spin dry or dry with paper towels, then puree the basil in the food processor, adding the olive oil until it's a thick as you'd like it.  Combine the puree with the vinaigrette to make the basil vinaigrette.

Remove the fish from the fridge so it can come to room temperature.  (If the fish looks wet, press down on both sides with paper towels to blot away the excess moisture.)   While fish comes to room temperature, spray the grill grates with non-stick grill spray or rub with a high smoke point oil (like grapeseed.)  Heat the grill to high.

Rub both sides of halibut with olive oil and fish rub.  When the fish is room temperature, lay it on an angle across the grill grates, top side down and immediately turn the temperature to medium-high (or even medium, if your grill cooks hot.)  Cook 3-4 minutes in that position, until you can see good grill marks.  (Carefully lift a corner of the fish and check.  It should lift easily when it's ready to rotate.)  When you see good grill marks, carefully rotate the fish so it's laying at the opposite angle across the grill grates.  Cook 2-3 minutes more on that side.

When you have good criss-cross marks, carefully turn the fish and cook about 2-3 minutes on the other side.  Total cooking time is about 8 minutes, depending on the thickness of the fish and the temperature of your grill.  Fish should feel firm but not hard to the touch when it's done; don't overcook.

To serve, spoon some basil vinaigrette over each piece of fish and serve hot.

South Beach Suggestions:
This is a great main course for any phase of The South Beach Diet. You could serve it with Grilled Asparagus with Parmesan for phase one.  For phase 2 or 3, I'd love this with Kalyn's Tabbouli with Almonds or Brown Rice with Cashews and Herbs.

Nutritional Information?
I chose the South Beach Diet to manage my weight partly so I wouldn't have to count calories, carbs, points, or fat grams, but if you want nutritional information for a recipe, I recommend entering the recipe into Calorie Count, which will calculate it for you.

Ten More Ideas with Basil Vinaigrette:
(Recipes from other blogs not always South Beach Diet friendly; check ingredients.)
Caprese Salad with Basil Vinaigrette ~ Steamy Kitchen
Summer Tomato Salad with Goat Cheese, Basil Vinaigrette, and Fresh Herbs ~ Kalyn's Kitchen
Strawberry and Goat Cheese Green Salad with Basil Vinaigrette ~ Cookin' Canuck
Tomato, Olive, and Fresh Mozzarella Salad with Basil Vinaigrette ~ Kalyn's Kitchen
Tomato, Basil, and Mozzarella Salad with Basil Vinaigrette ~ The Perfect Pantry
Tomatoes, Hearts of Palm, Olives, and Feta with Basil Vinaigrette ~ Kalyn's Kitchen
Italian Salad and Fresh Basil Vinaigrette ~ Eclectic Recipes
Lightly Steamed Asparagus with Basil Vinaigrette ~ Kalyn's Kitchen
Orzo Salad with Roasted Tomatoes, Basil Vinaigrette, and Ricotta Salata ~ More Than Burnt Toast
Whole Wheat Spaghetti Salad with Italian Sausage, Tomatoes, Olives, and Basil Vinaigrette ~ Kalyn's Kitchen
(Want even more recipes? I find these recipes from other blogs using Food Blog Search.)

Blogger Disclosure:
Posts may include links to my affiliate account at Amazon.com, and Kalyn's Kitchen earns a few cents on the dollar if readers purchase the items I recommend, so thanks for supporting my blog when you shop at Amazon!

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Posts may include links to my affiliate account at Amazon.com, and this blog earns a few cents on the dollar if readers purchase the items I recommend, so thanks for supporting my blog when you shop at Amazon!


  1. That looks delicious, Kalyn. Halibut can be a little dry, but yours looks like it's juicy. And I sure love me some basil!

  2. That looks yummy! We just bought our herbs last night for the season and are excited to try the basil vinagrette - thanks for sharing the recipe!


  3. If you have a good fish market in town and you want to try something great, get the fishmonger to cut you a thick, bone-in halibut steak instead of fillets, you can pretty much handle them like a steak or a chop and the bone keeps it moist and adds a whole new level of flavor.

  4. Looks great kalyn, not only the halibut but the other recipes too. I can't wait to try that. Is halibut pretty easy to make? just throw in an oven?

  5. Sher, the halibut turned out pretty well.

    CC, thanks. I'm improving but I still have a lot to learn. Plus, now I want a digital SLR camera.

    Crystal and ryan - have fun growing your herbs. And do try the basil vinaigrette.

    Steven, sounds great. I'm on a teacher's budget so I usually go with Costco, but there are a few good fish places in town.

    Mona, a ridged grill pan that goes on top of the stove is a good way to cook fish if you can't grill outside. I also use my toaster broiler with good rsults.

  6. Kalyn,

    That basil vinaigrette sounds amazing! I can't wait to try it with basil from my own garden ...

  7. Wonderful looking dish and definitely one I'll bookmark.

    Thanks for sharing

  8. Basil in vinaigrette? You have expanded my culinary horizons once again!

  9. Donna, the basil vinaigrette is good on EVERYTHING! Love it!

  10. I'm striving to serve fish a night or two each week.... and I have a ton of basil growing right now.... So I'm super anxious to make this and will soon! Looks delish!!

  11. Kim, this is one of my favorites; hope you enjoy!

  12. Kalyn, this looks amazing, but I love the look of the opaque vinaigrette. What gives Le Parisien that whitish look? And it seems thicker than the normal vinaigrette. Have you ever tried to duplicate this dressing?

  13. I haven't tried to duplicate the Le Parisien dressing, but I know it has xanthum gum, which I'm guessing is what thickens it.

  14. Are the tomatoes and cucumbers salad on the plate tossed in the same dressing? Thank you :)

  15. Wendy, yes they were! Very tasty too.

  16. If ever there was a post that would make you proud of how much you've learned about food photography, this would be it! I'm a big fan of basil vinaigrette, and I make it all summer with trimmings from the garden.

  17. Thanks Lydia. The difference was stunning, wasn't it!

  18. A truly beautiful dish! Thank you for sharing this healthy recipe Kalyn! Congratulations!

  19. With all the rain we've had my basil has not survived well - I am loving the idea of fish with a basil vinaigrette. Looks awesome!

  20. Meeta, my condolences on the basil! I am growing it both indoors and outdoors, so I'm set here!

  21. I made this for dinner last night with grilled zucchini. It was absolutely delicious! That basil vinaigrette is another keeper, Kalyn. It will be in heavy rotation this summer. Thank you!

  22. Leslie, glad you enjoyed it so much. When it's basil season, I always have basil vinaigrette in my fridge!

  23. This sounds like a delicious way to serve up one of my favourite fish. Halibut is a favourite made all the better by this lovely sauce.


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