Halibut with lemon-basil pesto

So I am continuing my love of pesto with yet another great pesto recipe! This pesto recipe is a classic, but when paired with a nice, moist, whitefish it brings my love of pesto to a whole new level!

The original recipe called for Sole, but I couldn’t find it at the grocery store. I went for another great, never-fail whitefish, Halibut. You can use any whitefish you choose just make sure its a thinner cut rather than a thick steak-like fish. As you can see in the photo below, I chose a simple couscous as my side. The pesto was just as good on the couscous as it was on the fish!

Halibut with Lemon-Basil Pesto

halibut with lemon basil pesto


Fish marinade:
1/4 cup, plus 1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
2 tbsp fresh lemon juice (approx 1 large lemon)
2 large garlic cloves, smashed
1/4 tsp kosher salt
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
8 (2-oz) skinless halibut fillets

2 cups packed fresh basil leaves
1/3 cup pine nuts, toasted *
Zest of 1 large lemon
2 tbsp fresh lemon juice (approx 1 large lemon)
1 garlic clove, smashed and peeled
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese


First you want to marinade your fish. To do that, combine 1/4 cup of the olive oil, the lemon juice, garlic, salt, and pepper. Whisk the marinade to blend. Pour the marinade into a deep bowl or pan and add in your halibut. Turn the fish several times to coat evenly. Let the fish marinade for about 15 minutes.

While your fish is marinading its time to make the yummy pesto. To do so you will want to bring out your food processor or blender. Pulse the basil, toasted pine nuts, lemon zest, lemon juice, garlic, salt, and pepper, until finely chopped. With the machine running, gradually add the olive oil and blend until the mixture is smooth and thick. Add the cheese and pulse until just incorporated.
(*To toast the pine nuts, arrange in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet. Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven until golden, about 6 minutes. Let the pine nuts cool completely before using).

Once your fish has marinated, heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add the remaining 1 tbsp of olive oil to pan. Remove the fillets from the marinade, letting any excess marinade drip off, and add to the hot pan. Sear for 3 minutes and then turn the fish over. Sear until the fish has cooked through, about 3 minutes longer.

Top each serving of fish with that delicious lemon-basil pesto and serve!

Recipe source: Giada’s Feel Good Food book


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