Halibut with Herb-Citrus Salsa and Israeli Couscous Risotto

Summary: This was full of flavor, healthy and satisfying, and I will definitely make it again. It would be easy to tweak for a slightly different flavor profile too; for example, use the herbs you've got growing or that sound good to you; try grapefruit zest rather than orange; use a fish other than halibut if you prefer.

Yield: serves 2


  • generous ¼ cup mixed chopped herbs: I used mint, basil, cilantro and spring onion tops
  • diced jalapeño to taste: I used about a sixth of a medium-sized one
  • 2 small rounds sliced from a preserved lemon, minced
  • 1 Persian cucumber, unpeeled and diced
  • grated zest of 1 orange, divided
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • two 6-8 ounces halibut filets, skin on (preferably MSC-certified)
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • freshly ground coriander
  • 3 large cloves garlic, minced
  • ½ teaspoon coriander seeds, ground
  • ¼ teaspoon coriander seeds, left whole
  • ¼ cup freshly squeezed orange juice, divided
  • ¾ cup Israeli couscous, toasted
  • ¼ + 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1½ cups chicken broth, warmed


Prepare the halibut: Set oven to low broil, and position a rack below it. Rinse the halibut filets and pat them dry. Drizzle with extra virgin olive oil, and sprinkle with freshly ground pepper and coriander. Place on a foil-lined baking sheet and broil until the center is just opaque.

In the meantime, make the risotto. In a small skillet, toast the couscous if you haven’t already. Pour into a 2-quart saucepan and sprinkle with the salt. In the same small skillet, slick the bottom with extra virgin olive oil and heat over medium. Add the minced garlic, the grated zest of the other 1/2 of the orange, the whole coriander seeds and the ground coriander. Stir until the garlic has softened but make sure it doesn’t get too brown and doesn’t crisp. Stir in 1 teaspoon of your salsa (minus cucumber bits if possible) and 1 tablespoon fresh orange juice and remove the skillet from heat, keeping close at hand.

Heat the 2-quart saucepan with the Israeli couscous over medium heat. Add the chicken broth, about 1/4 cup at a time, stirring constantly so the “risotto” doesn’t stick to the bottom. When you’ve got just about 1/4 cup of broth left, stir the garlic-coriander mixture from the skillet (using a spatula to get all the good stuff) into the “risotto” and stir to combine. Add the rest of the orange juice and chicken broth, lower the heat and stir until you’ve got a perfect creamy risotto.

Divide into two portions, and serve immediately with the halibut on top, dressing the whole dish with your reserved salsa and a small slice of orange.