I’m sure if you’ve recently tried to buy halibut, or ordered it at a restaurant, you’re aware of how pricey said fish can be. So when we saw it at our local fishmarket for a third off, we didn’t hesitate to pick some up. And, as luck would have it, just before grocery shopping, I remembered our TrueFire Gourmet wraps gifted to us from our West-Coast-Brother-In-Law, David. Inside the packaging were a few recipes, one of which featured this Mediterranean Cedar-Wrapped Halibut recipe.
These wraps are available at many local grocers and seafood markets or directly from their website truefiregourmet.com where you’ll also find additional recipes, videos and products. TrueFire Gourmet® cedar planks, wraps and roasters help you deliver impeccable food whether you grill, bake or steam. The company is based out of San Diego and uses wood from sustainable resources.
Strangely, directions indicate to preheat the oven to 365°, a very uncommon temperature in the U.S. to be sure. However, never having used these wraps before, I wanted to follow the instructions on the first go around. While we’ve grilled salmon on cedar planks in the past, we’ve never cooked with the wraps—which are a great alternative if you don’t like to grill (what?) or live in an area where you cannot grill all year long.
Now it was grilling season here in the Northeast U.S., but it was over-the-top hot and humid with the feel-like temps registering over 100° and the thought of being outside on this particular evening was unappealing, to say the least. It was much more palatable to be in the air conditioned house preparing a dinner that took barely 25 minutes (or so I thought) total time to prep and cook.
The firm white meat of halibut steaks and the mild flavor makes this a great fish for any recipe calling for whitefish. The main thing to remember when cooking halibut is that it will dry out on you fast, because it contains very little oil. And if that happened, you’d want to kick yourself at those prices! So these wraps with a marinade are a perfect solution to help retain the moisture.
Before you start to cook your halibut make sure to wash it thoroughly under cold water and pat dry with a paper towel. One of the handiest kitchen tools you can have is a cooking thermometer, this takes all the guess work out of cooking halibut. You want the fish to have an internal temperature of 145 degrees.
The bottom line: Despite the fact that the directions indicate the fish will reach the desired temperature in 10 minutes time, ours took nearly 25 minutes!! (So you may want to cook in a hotter 400° oven.) Wrapping the fish and marinade in the soaked wraps is tricky to say the least. Plus, with all of the mediterranean garnishes, one could barely decipher the taste of the cedar wrap, although it was a novel presentation and the taste was very good.
Mediterranean Cedar-Wrapped Halibut
- 4, 6-oz. halibut fillets
- 4 cedar wraps, soaked
- 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
- 2 Tbsp. fresh basil, chopped
- 1 tsp. dijon mustard
- 2 Tbsp. lemon juice
- 2 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar
- 2 oz. light feta cheese
- 3 Tbsp. light olive oil
- Lemon wedges for garnish
- Preheat oven to 365° and soak wraps for 5 minutes. (I soaked the twine also.)
- Combine marinade ingredients in a small bowl. Season with salt and pepper and set aside.
- Place each fillet in the center of the moist wrap and top with marinade, splitting amount evenly over each portion.
- Roll the wrap around fillet. Tie with butcher string or scallions.
- Place wraps on a cookie sheet and bake for 10 minutes or until fish is opaque in color. (Check temp with a cooking thermometer. The fish should register 145°—ours took nearly 25 minutes.)
- Serve partially opened on plates for gourmet presentation with a lemon wedge.