Thursday, October 19, 2006

Recipe for Grilled Halibut with Garlic Cilantro Sauce

For all you cilantro-haters out there, please allow me to indulge myself for just a few more recipes, and then I'll get off this cilantro kick and actually use some basil, rosemary, or parsley, some of my other favorite herbs. But since cilantro was officially crowned the favorite herb for the one year anniversary of Weekend Herb Blogging, I vowed I'd use it for all my WHB recipes for a month, and I'm a woman who keeps her promises.

I started this cilantro journey with My Favorite Herb Salad, followed by Thai Barbecue Chicken with Cilantro and Tomato and Cilantro Soup. And I already know what I'm making next week for the end of the cilantro-loving month. But this week, it's Grilled Halibut with Garlic Cilantro Sauce. If you're a cilantro lover like so many other food bloggers, this recipe tastes like cilantro heaven.

This recipe came from the mother of Jordynn, a totally adorable girl in my fourth grade class. Jordynn's the kind of student every teacher would love to have; she's smart, cute, well-behaved, and always thoughtful. (Hi Jordynn, I hope you read this so you know that I think you're a great student.) Her mother e-mailed me the recipe after we were chatting and I mentioned that cilantro had been chosen as the favorite herb. I actually made the recipe after school the same day I found it in my e-mail folder, that's how good it sounded!

I'm a fan of marinating fish a little before I grill it, so after I made the sauce, I brushed it on both sides of the halibut and let it sit for about 15 minutes. Next time I might put it in the refrigerator and marinate even longer.

I ate the salmon with a simple green salad, the last of the ripe tomatoes from my garden, and my favorite kind of beer (diet A & W Root Beer!) for a perfect phase one dinner for the South Beach Diet. For phase two or three, you could add something like Curried Rice and Red Lentils or Brown and Wild Rice with Pine Nuts and Thyme.

Grilled Halibut with Garlic-Cilantro Sauce
(enough sauce for six pieces of halibut, recipe from Jordynn's mom, with very minor adaptations by Ms. Denny)

halibut filets or steaks, 1 per person
4 cloves garlic, finely minced
1 cup chicken stock (or use a combination of chicken stock and white wine)
2 tsp. lime zest (from 2 limes)
juice of 2 limes (2-3 T or more)
4 T olive oil
3 T very finely chopped fresh cilantro (or more, I used about 1/4 cup)


Saute garlic in a small amount of olive oil for two minutes. Add chicken stock and lime zest and simmer about ten minutes, until stock is slightly reduced. Stir in lime juice and olive oil and heat for 2-3 minutes. Stir in cilantro and cook 1 minute more.

Brush fish on both sides with sauce and let marinate 15 minutes while you pre-heat gas or charcoal grill to high heat. (For fish, I spray my grill with nonstick spray before I start heating it.) Grill fish until firm, but not hard, to the touch, about 5 minutes per side.

To get nice grill marks, lay fish on a diagonal to grill slats, then rotate after about 3 minutes cooking time on the first side. Serve fish hot with additional sauce spooned over each piece of fish.

Other grilled fish I think would taste great with this include Sea Bass, Mahi Mahi, and Swordfish. You could also serve it with Tilapia, Red Snapper, or Sole, which I would probably bake or saute in a pan, since they're rather delicate for the grill.

Of course you figured out that this is my post for Weekend Herb Blogging, and if I didn't include more information about cilantro, it's only because I've written about it so many times for WHB already! This week's host is Pat from Up a Creek Without a PatL.
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More to Chew On:


  1. I love this looks great to me :D

  2. Ahh, looks wonderful! You and I were on the same wavelength, I see. :):) Well, I could eat a dish like this every day!

  3. I can't wait for parsley my favorite herb, although I don't care for cilantro this looks really good.

  4. Bill, it was great. Does your veggie wife eat fish?

    Sher, yes, once again we are on the same wavelength. Too bad we don't live closer so we could invite each other to dinner!

    Krista, I think you could put parsley in this and it would still taste great. The flavor of the garlic and lime would go with parsley just fine.

  5. Admittedly, I'm not a cilantro fan, but my mother eats handfuls of the stuff like candy, so I'll have to pass this on to her as I'm sure she'll love it :)

  6. Kalyn,
    shall I just discard the sauce after the fish being marinated? My mother-in-law just got me a grill (not deliver to me yet), would like to try your recipe later... esp your fish looks so good, just like the one from restaurant's menu!

  7. Ellie, I still like you even if you don't like cilantro!

    Gattina, I only brushed a small amount on the fish to marinate it. The rest (left in the pan) I spooned over the fish when I ate it. I had a little bit left over which I saved, thinking it would be good on other things. I think it would be good in the refrigerator for a day or two.

    If you had some left that you had marinated the fish in, I would throw that part away.

  8. Oh my. For this cilantro lover your dish sounds totally fab. Cilantro + garlic? Yummy goodness.

  9. What a delicious looking, sounding - and I'm positive tasting - dish!

    I supposed the non cilantro lovers could do this with parsley or basil, but for me....I'm going out to get some halibut and some fresh cilantro - mine is all used up!

    Thanks for sharing.

  10. Karina, thanks!

    Ruth, I think you'll like it. My friends 80 year old father (who is a great cook and reads my blog daily) said that in Greece they make something very similar with oregano. I still have oregano in my garden so I'm thinking of trying it.

  11. I love cilantro too.

    Your pics are great. I don't have halibut right now but the sause might work on some perch filets I have.

    I think I might try it and see.

  12. Kalyn,

    I bookmarked this recipe way back in barbecue season, but never got a chance to try it. Here it is, the week before Thanksgiving, and I find myself with all the ingredients. So I broiled the halibut.

    Fantastic! Thanks so much.

    Next time, in the sunshine, and with a margarita!

  13. Adam, glad you liked it. The margarita sounds like a perfect drink with this.

  14. Right now I'm really addicted to the cilantro/lime/garlic combo, it's the best! I made this tonight with swordfish and it was delicious!

  15. Maryanna, thanks for the feedback. Sounds great with the swordfish; I'll have to try that myself.

  16. Kalyn - Just this week I went to a local farmer's market and purchased some chimichirri made w/local Washington Yakima Valley (one of our state's winegrowing regions) grapeseed oil, cilantro, parsley, red onion, wine vinegar, garlic, red pepper and black pepper and lime. I have used it on tuna, chicken and tonight, halibut. I thought it would be a perfect substitute for your garlic cilantro sauce.

  17. Anonymous, definitely sounds like it would be a good substitute to me. How nice to find a locally made sauce like that.

  18. Lime and cilantro? Not sure how it could get any better. Thanks for the substitute suggestions since we don't get halibut very often around here.

  19. Paula, this is so good. I really miss the mom who gave me this recipe; she was my aide in school for several years.

  20. Hi Kalyn, this halibut looks wonderful.
    Please pop over if you would like to add up to 3 recipes to our entree week of Get Grillin'. We would love to have you :)

  21. I just made this last night and it was fabulous! The sauce was so fresh-tasting and delicious! THANKS for sharing!


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