Pan-fried halibut with orange fennel salsa

A quick recipe for halibut with the classic and refreshing flavour combination of fennel and orange

One of my favourite winter salads is the classic Italian combination of tangy oranges, crisp fennel and briny olives. It is to winter what caprese salad is to summer — ­ a celebration of all things seasonal and flavourful. As it turns out, it also makes a fantastic salsa for golden pan-­fried fish fillets. For this recipe, I used fresh Pacific halibut from B.C., which has the benefit of being both delicious and sustainable, but any firm-­fleshed white fish fillets like tilapia, haddock, turbot or cod will work.

Orange-fennel salsa

2 medium navel oranges
1 cup diced fresh fennel bulb
1/4 cup finely diced red onion
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh mint
20 oil-cured olive, pitted and halved
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
2 tbsp fresh lime juice
1 tsp honey
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp ground black pepper

Using a sharp knife, cut away the peel from the orange, removing the pith, as well. Then, make vertical cuts next to the membrane to release orange segment. Chop the segments into small pieces.

In a small mixing bowl, combine the orange pieces with the fennel, onion, mint, olives, olive oil, lime juice, honey, salt and pepper. Stir to combine, and adjust the seasoning to taste. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until ready to serve.

Halibut

1 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
4 6-8 oz fillets fresh Pacific halibut or any other firm white fish
2 tbsp olive oil
1/4 cup dry white wine
1/4 cup orange juice
2 tbsp unsalted butter

Gently pat the fish dry using paper towels, and season both sides with salt and pepper.

In a large non­stick skillet set over medium­-high heat, heat oil and add the halibut fillets. Sear until golden brown, about 4 minutes on each side, or until the fish flakes easily with a fork. Transfer to a serving plate.

Pour the wine and orange juice into the pan and bring to a boil, scraping the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon to loosen up any delicious browned bits. Cook for 2­0 to 25 minutes or until reduced by half, then remove from heat and whisk in the butter to make a smooth sauce. Spoon the sauce onto the fish, then top with orange ­fennel salsa and serve immediately.