Hazelnut-Crusted Halibut with Spicy Romesco

Metric version of recipe

Yields 8 portions

Ingredient Amount
For the spicy romesco  
Ancho pepper 1 ea.
Olive oil, extra virgin 2 Tbsp.
Jalapeño, small, stemmed and seeded ½ ea.
Garlic cloves, small 2 ea.
Hazelnuts, toasted and skinned 20 ea.
Leaves from 1 flat-leaf parsley sprig 1 sprig
Focaccia herb bread or baguette, pan-fried in olive oil 2 slices (small)
Plum tomato, medium, roasted 1 ea.
Red wine vinegar ½ tsp.
Kosher salt ½ tsp.
Black pepper, freshly ground, or as needed ½ tsp.
For the kale  
Red kale, stemmed and washed 1 generous bu.
Salt 1 Tbsp. or as needed
Black pepper a pinch
For the fish  
Halibut fillets, 6 oz. (about 1 lb. 8 oz.) 4 ea.
Salt 1 tsp.
White pepper a pinch
Lemon mayonesa or Soft Allioli ¼ cup
Hazelnuts, ground ½ cup
Olive oil, extra virgin or clarified butter ¼ cup


  1. Make the romesco. Cover the ancho in 4 cups of hot water and soak for 30 minutes. Drain the ancho, pat dry, and remove the seeds. Heat the oil in a small sauté pan over medium-high heat and sauté the ancho and jalapeño until lightly browned, about 3 minutes. Transfer to a food processor fitted with the steel blade. Add the garlic and process until the garlic and peppers adhere to the sides of the bowl, about 20 seconds. Scrape down the bowl and add the hazelnuts, parsley, and bread. Process to a paste, about another minute. Scrape down the bowl and add the tomato, vinegar, salt, and pepper. Process until smooth, about 1 minute. Taste and adjust seasoning with a pinch each of salt and pepper and ½ teaspoon of vinegar. Set aside.
  2. Make the kale. Bring 6 quarts of water to a boil over high heat in a large saucepan, salt generously, and add the kale. Cook for 4 minutes, until wilted and tender to the bite. Transfer to a bowl of ice water, then drain and squeeze dry. Chop coarsely, season with a small pinch each of salt and pepper, and warm again in a small skilled before serving.
  3. Prepare the fish. Preheat the oven to 400°F. Oil a baking dish large enough to accommodate all of the fish in a single layer. Season the halibut with the salt and a pinch of white pepper. Brush the tops with mayonesa or allioli and roll in the ground hazelnuts. Heat the oil or clarified butter in a large nonstick heavy sauté pan over medium-high heat. When it is hot, place the halibut crusted side down in the pan and immediately reduce the heat to medium low. Once the halibut crust is golden, after about 3 minutes, turn the fillets over and cook for another 2 minutes or until the fillets are crusty and light brown; transfer to the baking dish (or leave in the pan if they all fit) and place in the oven, crusted side up. Bake for 5 minutes, or until the fish is almost firm, opaque, and pulls apart when gently prodded with a fork.
  4. Place ¼ cup of kale in the center of each plate with a piece of fish on top. Serve with 1-1/2 to 2 tablespoons of the romesco around the fish and kale.

Additional tips

Recipe credit: Victor Scargle for the Hazelnut Council, as presented at the Worlds of Flavor International Conference & Festival. All rights reserved. Presented at the World Marketplace on Friday, Nov. 3, 2006.

© 2018 The Culinary Institute of America