Grilled Halibut and Fingerling Potatoes with Nutty Romesco Sauce

Recipe and photo contributed by Stephanie Deihl Yield:  4 servings (includes 2 tablespoons sauce)
Prep Time:  20 minutes Cook Time:  1 hour 10 minutes

Grilled Halibut and Fingerling Potatoes with Nutty Romesco Sauce

This dinner is a great Father’s Day alternative to grilled steak and potatoes. It’s light and flavorful and if you make the Romesco sauce in advance, the rest of the meal can be grilled outdoors quickly and easily with no messy kitchen clean-up. Come to think of it, it’s a great dinner any time you feel like firing up to grill. Halibut is a meaty, creamy fish that’s great for grilling, but feel free to substitute other firm white fish like swordfish or mahi mahi. The versatile, nutty Romesco sauce tastes great over grilled fish, meats like chicken or beef, and grilled or roasted potatoes or cauliflower. I’ve even used it as a dipping sauce for crudités. The Romesco recipe makes enough for a crowd for dinner or for several intimate family meals. It will store in the refrigerator for up to a week.

Ingredients

Romesco Sauce:

1 red bell pepper, halved and seeded (about 8 to 10 ounces)

3 medium tomatoes, core removed and halved horizontally (about 1¼ pounds)

¾ cup olive oil, divided

2 teaspoons salt, divided

1 head garlic, skin intact, halved horizontally

¼ cup blanched or slivered almonds

1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons sherry vinegar

2 teaspoons adobo sauce from a can of chiles in adobo

Several grinds of black pepper

Grilled Halibut and Potatoes:

4 (6-ounce) halibut steaks, about 1 inch thick

1 teaspoon salt

4 tablespoons olive oil, divided

1½ pounds baby Yukon Gold or fingerling potatoes, scrubbed clean

Instructions

  1. Prepare the sauce: Preheat the oven to 375°F.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the red pepper, tomatoes, ¼ cup olive oil, and ½ teaspoon salt and toss gently. Place the peppers (cut side down), tomatoes (cut side up), and the garlic on a baking sheet. Pour  any olive oil remaining in the bowl over the vegetables.
  3. Roast for 45 to 50 minutes, until the peppers are soft and the skin starts to blister and blacken in spots, and the tomatoes darken around the edges. Remove from the oven and when they are cool enough to handle, peel the red peppers and tomatoes.
  4. Meanwhile, toast the almonds until golden brown.
  5. Squeeze the roasted garlic cloves into the bowl of a food processor. Add the peeled peppers and tomatoes, the remaining 1½ teaspoons salt, the sherry vinegar, and adobo sauce to the bowl and pulse for about 30 seconds, until chunky.  With the processor running, add ½ cup olive oil in a steady stream. Transfer to a medium-sized bowl and add salt and pepper to taste. At this point you can refrigerate the sauce or continue with the recipe. (If you are making the sauce in advance, pull it out of the refrigerator 30 minutes to 1 hour before serving to allow it to warm up to room temperature. Alternatively, you can warm it briefly on the stove or in the microwave.
  6. Prepare the fish: Wash the halibut and pat it dry.  Sprinkle it with ¼ teaspoon salt and rub with 1 tablespoon of olive oil.
  7. Preheat a grill to medium-high heat (375° to 400° F). (See kitchen tip)
  8. Cut the potatoes into ¼-inch rounds and place in a medium bowl. Toss with the remaining 3 tablespoons olive oil and salt.
  9. Arrange the potatoes in a single layer on a 12-by-20-inch piece of foil. Fold the ends together tightly to form a package. Put the potato package on the grill and cook, undisturbed, 10 minutes. Turn the package.
  10. Once you have turned the potatoes, place the fish on the grill, skin side down. Close the grill and cook for 10 minutes, or until the potatoes are beginning to brown on the outside and are tender on the inside, and the halibut fish is cooked through.
  11. Remove the halibut and the potatoes from the grill and serve, either topped with or alongside the Romesco sauce.

Kitchen Tips

  1. Be sure to cut all the potatoes to equal size so they cook evenly.
  2. When the grill is hot, clean it well and wipe the grates with a cloth drenched in olive oil to keep the fish from sticking.
  3. The general rule for grilling fish is to allow 10 minutes of cooking time per inch of thickness.
  4. The Romesco sauce will yield about 2½ cups—enough for several meals.

Click here to read about Stephanie Deihl’s special Father’s Day dinner.

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