Wednesday, February 15, 2012

A #LaRomanella Recipe: Tapenade-topped Halibut

What do you do when you’re asked to create a recipe and you have a freezer full of meat? Go out and buy fish, of course.

I recently cleaned out the freezer and declared that we would most certainly NOT be buying any more meat. In our freezer, pork and beef are the main attraction, and it’s all thanks to the meat clearance section at the grocery store. As I wrote that, I realized that meat clearance doesn’t sound very appetizing, does it?

But there’s nothing wrong with this clearance meat, other than it’s quickly approaching sell-by date, and we are incapable of passing up a good meat deal. At the grocery store just days after I had made this no-more-buying-meat declaration, Andy walked up to our grocery cart with a 50% off package of pork chops, looking lovingly at them as he put them in the cart. And what did I do? I marveled over the fact that we were getting THREE HUGE PORK CHOPS for only $3! We’re hopeless…

So…when I was selected to participate in Smart & Final’s campaign to come up with a recipe using their La Romanella products, do you think I took it as an opportunity to use up something we already had in the freezer. Nope. Once again, instead of pulling from our frozen stockpile, I went out and bought ridiculously expensive halibut at the fish market.

When browsing for inspiration for this recipe, I knew immediately that I wanted to create two things: a spicy tapenade and a quick tomato sauce. Fresh canned tomatoes make a homemade sauce really easy. And there is no shortage of all things pickled in the La Romanella aisle. Olives, capers and pepperoncini would definitely go into the tapenade.

Here is my Italian-inspired entrée, sans any pork or beef, of course…

Tapenade-topped Pan-seared Halibut over Spaghetti

Serves 4

1/3 cup Kalamata olives, pitted and rinsed
1/3 cup Manzanilla olives, pitted and rinsed
1 tablespoon capers, rinsed
1 tablespoon chopped La Romanella pepperoncini
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon lemon juice

Pasta sauce:
1 can (28 ounces) La Romanella whole peeled pear tomatoes
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoons red wine
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper

4 halibut fillets, about 5-6 ounces each
olive oil

cooked spaghetti

For tapenade:
Put olives, capers, and pepperoncini in a mini food processor. Pulse until chopped finely, but not pureed. Transfer to a small bowl and stir in olive oil and lemon juice. Reserve.

For pasta sauce:
Remove tomatoes from juice and chop roughly. Reserve juice and tomatoes. Heat olive oil in a saucepan over medium heat. Add onions and sauté until soft. Add garlic, cook about 30 seconds. Stir in tomatoes and juice, red wine, cayenne pepper (if using), salt and pepper. Bring to a simmer. Simmer for 30- 60 minutes, stirring occasionally.

For halibut:
Lightly oil halibut and season with pepper. When sauce is ready, heat several tablespoons of olive oil in a large pan over medium-high heat. Add halibut fillets and cook 3-5 minutes per side, depending on thickness, until just cooked through.

To serve, plate spaghetti and top with sauce. Place halibut on top and add a spoonful of tapenade.

This turned out to be one of those dishes that completely exceeded my hopes and expectations. It was really, really, really good, and I want to eat it again very soon. The halibut stays so tender, the sauce tastes fresh and light, and the tapenade offers a salty bite with a kick. If you’re trying to get more fish into your diet, dishes like this make it easy.

This project has been compensated as part of a social shopper insights study for #collectivebias #CBias. All opinions are my own.


  1. This halibut looks perfectly cooked! I've been trying to cook and eat more fish but it is tough when we've got a freezer full of beef, pork, chicken and sausages!

  2. I know what we're having for dinner tonight!

  3. Karen that halibut looks so delicious and the presentation is incredible!

  4. I don't eat any seafood but this looks gorgeous. I hope you don't mind but I would like to share this with my readers on a segment I write every week called Seafood Frenzy Friday, where I showcase wonderful seafood recipes I find from other bloggers. Your blog name, image and recipe title will be posted this Friday and it will link to your direct post. Http:// and it will be under Week 6. :)

  5. Halibut is one of my husband's favourite; we never see it around here, but we are going to Victoria BC for March and it is the season. What a great presentation and that tapenade really makes it outstanding.

  6. I adore tapenade, and this looks like a wonderful application :) Now I crave fish and pasta!

  7. What a beautiful meal! That fish looks just perfect...topped with a delectable tapenade....mmmmmmm

  8. This dish looks AMAZING!!! And I'm sure it tastes just as good!

  9. I love halibut and this looks like such a delicious way to serve it!

  10. I'm very envious of your freezer full of clearance meat. It's the only way I'll buy it, so like you, when it's a good price, I stock up; way up.

    I've never paired fish and pasta together but you're making me wonder why. That looks delicious, especially with the tapenade adding little bites of fantastic.

  11. I had to laugh at your meat stockpiles - sounds like us when we go to Costco. Five pounds of Brussels Sprouts for only $2.99? Why of course we need that! Love the idea of fish with pasta - it's a great way to get my family to actually eat fish.

  12. wow looks divine adore Halibut hate it keeps going up in price though

  13. this is an inspired dish Karen. I love it that it doesn't have any meat for a change! Halibut... well yeah! haha...
    thank you for stopping by my site today, it's been pretty quiet over there, i'm skipping over here to partay haha and as with the Pilates? who does that? haha!
    Enjoy your day!

  14. I love Smart and Final and I love this recipe. It looks scrumptious!

  15. What a fantastic recipe! The varied flavors work together beautifully!

  16. Oh, congrats on the Pinwheel winner! I voted for that one! This is a wonderful recipe, I have bookmarked it - we don't have Smart and Final here but I wish we did!

  17. This looks delicious! I'm off to do some voting!

  18. Hi Karen!
    nice blog u have hear. =)

    shops usualy keep the expiry date much earlier then when the food is actualy getting bad. good for us, right? u cooked such a delicious pasta tapenade dish, I am drooling at the other side of the world! thx for sharing =)

  19. My husband is a big fan of fish. Funny, I often don't think of marinara with fish but I bet it is tasty!