The halibut drought is over! After the holidays and during the cold winter months, I found I was craving hearty slow cooked meals based on beef and pork instead of fish. My son experienced the same “halibut fatigue” with his frozen halibut cache, however now with the warmer sunnier days (at least here in Denver), I think we are both anticipating the homeward stretch of the halibut recipes.
I had watched an episode on the cooking channel a few weeks ago about an Italian American grandma in Brooklyn whose specialty is a Sicilian swordfish ball served with red gravy. A halibut ball was a logical substitution for me. I knew the thawed halibut would have a higher water content and be moister than the swordfish, so I used less water to soak the fresh breadcrumbs in than the original recipe, and I did coat each halibut ball in flour before browning in oil. They crisped up easily in the hot oil before they finished cooking in the sauce. I made my usual red sauce with a hefty dose of red pepper flakes that gives it a very spicy heat level, but you can adjust the heat by using less if desired.
The texture of the meatballs is surprisingly light and fluffy, and by cooking them in the sauce, they remain moist and tender. The halibut balls have a faint lemon, garlic, and parsley flavor with not a hint of fishiness. I would serve this dish to people who think they don’t like fish, as I’m confident they would convert to fish lovers- it’s that good. The spicy tomato sauce adds another flavor dimension that enhances the halibut balls. I served this over spaghetti and with a side salad. Another winner dish that makes me wonder why I needed a break from halibut…..