Halibut with Cilantro Pesto

Last week I shared some of my best tips to get children to eat the meat, fish, poultry and vegetables that should make up the majority of their dinner plate. I have never understood why mothers are willing to prepare separate meals for the adults and children... at least not as a rule of thumb. Sometimes hubby and I want a quiet, relaxed dinner a little later in the evening and the double-cook is easier. Most of the time, my kids just have to eat whatever we're eating. Actually, most of the time everyone in this house just has to eat whatever I'm eating.

But I get into a rut. You too, right? Sometimes I feel like I've made the same 20 dinners over. and over. and over. and over... since I got knocked up & all domesticated.

If you too know the mind-numbing sensation of robo-chopping the same vegetables and meats night after night, you are probably wondering how to mix it up while still keeping those less enthusiastic family members on board with your healthy eating "jive".

What about fish? I find a lot of moms shy away from fish and shellfish for family dinners. My earliest memory of eating fish for dinner as a child was a rare dinner in front of the TV. The entertainment? Jaws. I sat slack-jawed in front of that man-eating shark and, even with ketchup, I couldn't choke down the fish. Add to that memory the fact that I have a knack for getting and choking on the one-and-only fish bone in a boned filet of fish, no matter how many people are at the table, and I was a little fish-averse for much of my life. The odd filet of salmon or can of tuna was de rigeur but I was far from adventurous.

But there are so many varieties of fish that are meaty, mild and just begging to be dressed with something interesting (even if it is *gasp* ketchup).

Here is one that I'm putting on our list for next week. It's a halibut dish, and if I know one thing about halibut it's that it tastes like chicken. And my kids like chicken. A lot.

Halibut with cilantro pesto

Makes 2 servings

  • 2 pieces, each 5 oz (150 g) Pacific halibut fillet
  • 2 cups (500 mL) packed fresh cilantro, tough stems removed
  • ½ cup (125 mL) unsalted, dry-roasted almonds*
  • ¼ cup (50 mL) diced red onion
  • 2 tbsp (25 mL) olive oil
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • 1/8 tsp (0.5 mL) salt

In a food processor, purée all pesto ingredients until very finely ground, 2 to 3 minutes. Pesto can be made in advance and stored in the fridge for 3 days. Note: This recipe only requires 2 tbsp (25 mL) of pesto. Freeze the remainder of the pesto in an ice cube tray and store in a re-sealable freezer bag for future use.

Preheat oven to 400º F (200º C). Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Place the halibut on the parchment paper and spread 1 tbsp (15 mL) of pesto on each fillet. Bake for 10 minutes. Serve immediately with lots of steamed vegetables and brown rice.

Nutritional information: (1 piece of fish and 1 tbsp / 15 mL pesto)  Calories: 250; Protein: 33 g; Total fat: 11 g**; Carbohydrate: 4 g; Dietary fibre: 2 g; Sodium: 125 mg; Potassium: 813 mg.

** The total fat in this recipe comes mostly from the heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids.