Grilled Red Chili Halibut uses roasted Mexican red chilies and cinnamon for a warm, earthy take on the seasonal Pacific Northwest halibut.
Every Spring I look forward to the beginning of halibut season. Here in the Pacific Northwest, we have the luxury of fresh fish every season. One of the most versatile and meaty fish, halibut holds up to the depth of roasted chilies in this Grilled Red Chili Halibut. Chile peppers and cinnamon create an earthy, spicy sauce with sweet undertones that only gets better when grilled. The addition of grilled sweet corn, cilantro and fresh lime really completes the dish.
Grilled Red Chili Halibut
- 1 lb. halibut fillet
- 4 tbsp. Red Chile Sauce, see below
- 4 ears corn on the cob
- 1 lime cut in wedges
- 1 handful cilantro rough chopped
Red Chile Sauce
- 2 Chilies de Arbol
- 2 Pasilla Chilies
- 2 New Mexico Chilies
- 1/2 small yellow onion quartered
- 1/2 tsp. achiote powder
- 1/2 tsp. cinnamon powder
- 1 tsp. garlic minced
- 1 tbsp. agave nectar
- 3 cups chicken broth warmed
- 1 tbsp. lard
- Toast chilies and onion in a dry cast iron pan over medium high heat for about 3-5 minutes. They will start to soften and release aroma. Careful not to burn – they will taste bitter if burned.
- Remove chilies and onion to a blender. Add achiote powder, cinnamon powder, garlic, agave nectar and warm chicken broth. Blend until very smooth.
- Heat lard in the cast iron pan over medium high heat. Pour in Red Chile Sauce and simmer for about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and cool completely.
- Coat halibut fillet in about 4 tbsp. Red Chili Sauce. Grill over charcoal, skin side down, for about 8 minutes or until fish turns opaque in the middle and starts to flake when you push on it with a fork. While you are grilling halibut, add the corn to the grill and rotate as each side gets a little charred.
- Cut the grilled corn off the cob and toss with cilantro and fresh squeezed lime. Serve over grilled halibut.
Ingredients in Red Chili Halibut
- Halibut – Fresh, in season halibut is best, but you can easily substitute another meaty white fish such as cod.
- Dried Mexican Chilies – Pasilla (rich, pungent) , New Mexico (sweet, fruity) and Arbol (spicy) found in the Mexican aisle of your grocery.
- Cinnamon – Ground cinnamon adds a warm taste that pairs well with Mexican chilies.
- Achiote Powder – Red spice with mild, earthy flavor and sweet undertones.
- Onion – I like using either Walla Walla Sweet or Vidalia onion.
- Garlic – For this recipe I used chopped garlic in the jar, which gives a more muted garlic taste.
- Agave Nectar – Sweetener that looks similar to honey, found in the baking aisle of the grocery.
- Chicken Broth – If you can’t use homemade, I suggest Better Than Bouillon brand.
- Lard – Save your bacon grease and use that or purchase a block lard from the grocery.
- Corn on the Cob – Fresh corn on the cob, husked and grilled
- Lime – Fresh lime cut into wedges and used as a garnish for corn and fish
- Cilantro – Fresh cilantro, just tear off a handful and rough chop for garnish.
- Toast dried chilies and onion in a dry cast iron pan over medium high heat until fragrant.
- Blend toasted chilies and onion with achiote powder, garlic, agave nectar and warm chicken broth.
- Heat lard in cast iron pan over medium high heat. Add red chile sauce to pan.
- Cook for about 5 minutes. Remove and let cool before coating halibut.
- Coat halibut with about 4 tbsp. of the red chile sauce. Freeze or refrigerate the rest for another use.
- Grill halibut skin side down for about 8 minutes, depending on thickness of fillet, until opaque in center when flaked with a fork. Grill corn at same time, constantly rotating to get even grill marks. Remove when charred all around.
- Cut corn off the cob and toss with lime juice and cilantro. Serve over halibut.
You Will Love GRILLED HALIBUT in Roasted Tomatillo Sauce
You’ve tried the Grilled Red Chile Halibut, now try the green! Grilled Halibut in a Tomatillo Sauce