Pan-Roasted Halibut with Roasted Cherry Tomatoes and Butternut Squash


Butternut squash and tomatoes is a combination that reminds me of the first hint of fall, when the season’s first winter squash and the last of summer’s tomatoes are together for a short, transitional time

Serves 4

1 small butternut squash, halved lengthwise and seeds removed
5 tablespoons olive oil
1 pint cherry or grape tomatoes or other small heirloom variety, washed and stems removed
1/4 cup sherry vinegar
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
4 halibut fillets, cut 1-inch thick (about 6 ounces each), skin on
2 tablespoons fresh marjoram leaves
Juice of 1 lemon
1/2 cup dry white wine
1/2 cup chicken broth

1. Preheat the oven to 400ºF.

2. Place the squash, cut side down, on a baking sheet with sides. Pour 1 cup of water and 1 tablespoon of the olive oil in the pan around the squash and roast for 40 to 45 minutes, until the squash is soft when the long section is pierced with a small knife. Check on the squash while it’s cooking and add more water if the baking sheet is dry. Remove from the oven and let the squash cool.

3. While the squash roasts, place the tomatoes in a small baking dish and drizzle with 1 tablespoon of the olive oil and 2 tablespoons of the vinegar. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and toss to coat. Roast the tomatoes alongside the squash for about 20 minutes until they are soft and slightly brown and wrinkled. Remove from the oven.

4. Reduce the oven temperature to 300ºF.

5. Meanwhile, rub the halibut with 1 tablespoon of the olive oil and season with 1 tablespoon of the marjoram, salt, and pepper. Heat the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large nonstick skillet, over medium-high heat until just before the smoking point, or until a pinch of salt sizzles when dropped in the oil. Place the halibut fillets, skin side down, in the skillet. Reduce the heat to medium and cook the fish without moving it until it is opaque halfway up the side, about 4 minutes. Carefully turn the fish over and squeeze the lemon juice over it. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes longer, until it is opaque and tender and flaky when pierced with the tip of a sharp knife. Carefully transfer the fish to a platter covered loosely with foil, and place it in the oven to keep warm while you prepare the sauce.

6. Pour the wine, broth, and the remaining 2 tablespoons of vinegar into the pan you cooked the fish in, increase heat to high, and bring to a boil. Boil for 2 to 3 minutes until the sauce is bubbly and thickens slightly.

7. Remove the skin from the squash and cut it into bite-size chunks. Add the squash chunks, tomatoes, and remaining marjoram to the pan with the sauce and simmer, stirring gently, to warm. Season with salt and pepper, spoon the squash and tomatoes over and around the fish and serve immediately.