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Halibut Wrapped in Grape Leaves with Roasted Pepper Salad
We were doing a “wine country inspired” dinner in the restaurant and I came up with a dish that was inspired by all the grapes growing everywhere, wrapping a fish with the brined grape leaves and roasting them. While this technique is hardly new, it was one I wanted to try for a while now. Try to use wild caught halibut, if possible, for the very best flavor. Grape leaves in brine can be found in the specialty aisle in many supermarkets, look in the Greek section. Choose the largest leaves you can to be able to wrap the fish entirely!
Serves: 4 people
Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 12-15 minutes
4 filets Halibut, 8-oz each
12-14 each Grape leaves, in brine
1 each Large Red Bell Pepper
1 each Large Yellow Bell Pepper
1 each Large Orange Bell Pepper
12 leaves Basil, picked from the stem
3 Tbsp Olive oil, light
4 Tbsp Balsamic vinegar, good quality
Kosher salt and pepper, as needed
Use 1 Tbsp of the olive oil to coat the halibut filets all over, then season with the salt and pepper as desired. Lay out the grape leaves in front of you on a flat surface. Lay them out in 4 areas, with the leaves overlapping. Make each area twice as large as the halibut filet, so you can wrap the leaves over the top of the fish. Tie each leaf-wrapped filet with 2 lengths of kitchen string. This will keep the leaves on when cooking.
Oil the outside of the leaf-wrapped filets with 1 Tbsp of olive oil, turn them over in the oil to coat all over. Set these aside.
Cut the peppers into large pieces, ready for grilling. Toss them with 1 Tbsp of the olive oil and season with the salt and pepper.
Set up the grill for high heat, 3-zone cooking (400-500F), with the “safe zone” in the center.
Arrange the filets in the center of the grill and spread the peppers out on either side (directly above the heat). Close the lid and cook for 4 minutes. After 4 minutes, flip the peppers over, close the lid and cook another 2 minutes. When the peppers have roasted, but are still firm, remove them from the grill. Continue to cook the halibut for another 2-3 minutes, until the center is 140F.
While the halibut cooks, slice the basil and put it into a mixing bowl. Slice the peppers thinly and add them to the basil, along with the balsamic vinegar and the last 1 Tbsp of the olive oil. Toss well.
Cut the strings from the halibut filets and serve with the warm pepper salad. Remember, the grape leaf is edible, so give it a try. The light brine compliments the fish pretty well. Keep the coals hot!