Halibut with Smoked Chipotle Blue Cheese and Pine Nuts

Smothered in a mixture of tangy blue cheese, crunchy pine nuts and fiery, smokey peppers, a fillet of halibut, rockfish, snapper or walleye has no chance when placed in front of hungry diners. Here a fillet of black rockfish is served on a bed of black rice.

This year we brought up several wedges of Rogue Caveman Bleu Cheese to Point Hope. This is good stuff, thick and creamy with complex flavors ranging from smoked bacon and butter to sweet fruit. I’ve been eager to use it in cooking, and last night it made its debut on a thick fillet of perfectly flaky black rockfish – one of our favorite fish. Substitute the more traditional halibut for this bleu cheese recipe, or try it with walleye, snapper, porgy or red drum (redfish). Luck into some nice-sized crappie? This twist on the standard bleu cheese topping is just the ticket.

While cayenne pepper powder alone works fine, the wood-smoked chipotles (available from Penzeys Spices) in the following recipe gave this dish a delectable aroma and flavor. Leaving the seeds in the arbol chili kicked up the heat.

Ingredients (Serves 2 to 4):

  • 1 pound halibut fillet, cut into 2 to 4 pieces
  • 1/2 cup bleu cheese, crumbled
  • 1/3 cup chopped pine nuts (or pecans, almonds or walnuts)
  • 1 whole, dried arbol chili pepper, crushed (or 1/2 tsp cayenne powder)
  • 2 smoked, dried chipotle chili peppers, seeds removed, crushed (or use unsmoked chili peppers)
  • 1 tsp dried tarragon, crushed
  • 1 tsp dried marjoram, crushed
  • a few grind of black pepper
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • additional olive oil for sautéing the mixture

Directions:

  1. Rinse fillets, pat dry with paper towels and set aside.
  2. Set oven on broil and preheat a broiling pan.
  3. In a non-reactive bowl (glass works well) mix together the bleu cheese, pine nuts, spices, herbs and sugar.
  4. Add some olive oil to a small frying pan and heat over medium-low to low heat. Add bleu cheese & pine nut mixture, stirring and turning until cheese is melted.
  5. Add minced garlic and lemon juice to the mixture, cooking for about 1 minute while combining thoroughly. Remove pan from heat and cover with a lid.
  6. Place fillets on broiling pan. Fillets should sizzle when they touch the pan. Broil for about 5 to 7 minutes, depending on thickness of fish. Fish should just be turning opaque when cooked through.
  7. Cover fillets with bleu cheese mixture and continue to broil for 2 to 3 minutes.
  8. Serve piping hot.

We served the fillets on black rice. It was a coin flip between that or saffron rice. This would pair well with a chilled, slightly sweet Gewürztraminer.

6 thoughts on “Halibut with Smoked Chipotle Blue Cheese and Pine Nuts

  1. Hard to believe summer is almost over and your travels for provisions is done. I’ve so enjoyed all of your posts this summer

  2. This looks amazing. I love spicy foods but I would never have thought of mixing chile with blue cheese – an inspired combination! – to make a sauce for fish. I must try it in the future…

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