“Halibut is notoriously difficult to grill due to its low fat content. The brining process helps solve that problem, but there are a few more tricks as well.” —Michael Cimarusti Grilled Brined Wild-Caught Halibut with Green Bean & Tomato Salad
- ¼ cup kosher salt
- 2 cup water plus more for ice bath
- 4 cup ice cubes plus more for ice bath
- 3 pound center-cut skinless halibut fillet blood line removed
- ¼ cup mayonnaise or as needed
- 1 tablespoon dijon mustard
- ¼ cup sherry vinegar
- 1 pinch sugar
- 1 pinch kosher salt & black pepper, to taste
- 1 small clove garlic green germ removed, finely minced
- 1 cup extra-virgin olive oil plus more for grill
- 1 pound green beans ends trimmed
- 1 pound various varieties of tomatoes (try for a mix of types, sizes and colors)
- 1 pinch maldon salt or other coarse sea salt, to taste
- 1 shallot finely minced
- 30 large green basil leaves cut in ¼‑inch ribbons
- ½ bunch flat-leaf parsley roughly chopped
- 25 tarragon leaves snipped with scissors
- 1 old bay seasoning as needed
Prepare the vinaigrette. Place the mustard, vinegar, sugar, 1 pinch each salt & pepper and garlic in a mason jar. Place the lid on the jar and give it a good shake. This will dissolve the salt and the sugar. Remove the cap, add the olive oil, replace the cap and shake again. This will yield about 1 ⅓ cups of creamy, well-emulsified vinaigrette, more than will be required for the recipe (the remainder can be stored tightly covered in the refrigerator for at least 1 week).
Brine the fish: Combine ¼ cup kosher salt and 2 cups water in a large mixing bowl and stir to dissolve the salt. Add 4 cups ice. Set the brine aside while you prepare the fish. Place the fillet in the brine and leave for 1 hour. Remove the fish from the brine, dip briefly in salt-free ice water and dry it thoroughly with paper towels. Lay the fish out flat on parchment-lined baking sheets and refrigerate, unwrapped, for a minimum of 4 hours. Cut the fillets into 5- to 6‑ounce portions.
Make the salad: Prepare a bowl of ice water. Blanch the green beans briefly in a large pot of rapidly boiling salted water and cook just until the color brightens, about 3 minutes. Remove to the bowl of ice water to stop the cooking, then drain and pat dry. Slice the tomatoes and arrange them on a large serving platter. Depending on the shape of the tomatoes, you may want to cut some into wedges and others may look better sliced. Season the tomatoes with Maldon salt and a few turns of freshly milled black pepper. Sprinkle the tomatoes with the chopped shallots and distribute half the green and opal basil, parsley and tarragon evenly over the tomatoes. This should be done one-half hour before you are ready to serve your guests.
Grill the halibut: Heat the grill over medium-high heat until hot and clean it well with a wire brush. Brush both sides of the fish with a very thin coating of mayonnaise, a sprinkle with salt, and a light shake of Old Bay Seasoning, if desired. Just before putting the fish on the grill, wipe down the grate with an old rag that has been briefly dipped in cooking oil. Place the fish on the grill and, after a minute or so, turn the fillets at a 45-degree angle to mark them. After another minute, flip the fillets. Cook for 2 more minutes. The flesh should yield to gentle pressure when pressed (you can also use a cake tester to test the doneness of the fillet; when the fish is properly cooked, a cake tester will pass through with only gentle resistance).
Just before the fish is ready, shake the vinaigrette again to re-emulsify, and drizzle one-fourth of it over the tomatoes. Place the cooked and drained green beans in a mixing bowl and toss them with enough vinaigrette to coat them well and season with salt and pepper. Scatter a layer of beans over the tomatoes. Place the grilled halibut on top of the tomatoes and the beans. Drizzle the halibut with more vinaigrette and scatter over the remainder of the dressed beans. Distribute the remaining herbs over it all. Pass the remaining vinaigrette at the table.