Oven-roasted halibut fillets are topped with thyme butter and roasted over cabbage until plump. Then the whole thing is garnished with cherry tomatoes.
To keep this dinner on the simpler side, we roast it in the oven, and that’s always appreciated. And it keeps the white fish firm. The herb butter helps the flavor of the ingredients really shine through.–Karen Bussen
Oven-Roasted Halibut, Cherry Tomatoes, and Thyme
- 6 tablespoons (3 oz) butter at room temperature, plus 2 tablespoons for sauteing
- 12 sprigs thyme plus 1 tablespoon chopped
- 1 large savoy cabbage (about 2 pounds), finely shredded
- 1 bunch scallions thinly sliced
- Six (5-ounce) halibut* fillets
- Salt and pepper
- Juice of 2 lemons (1/4 cup)
- 1/2 cup Sauvignon Blanc or other dry white wine
- 1/2 pint cherry tomatoes sliced in half
- In a small bowl, combine the butter and the chopped thyme, mixing to incorporate the herbs. If you like, spoon the herb butter into the center of a piece of parchment or wax paper and roll it into a log shape. Chill the butter for at least an hour for easy slicing. If you don’t want to make the butter log, just chill the butter in a bowl covered with plastic (it won’t look as good, but the butter is going to melt in the oven anyway).
- Preheat the oven to 425°F (220°C).
- Melt the remaining 2 tablespoons of the butter in a large pan, and saute the cabbage and scallions over medium heat until tender, about 6 minutes. Portion the cooked cabbage into 6 equal piles in a casserole dish.
- Place a halibut fillet on each pile of cabbage, season with salt and pepper, and drizzle with lemon juice and white wine. Cut the prepared herb butter into 6 equal-sized pats, and place one on top of each fillet. Scatter halved tomatoes evenly around the fillets. Top each piece of halibut with 2 sprigs of thyme. Cover the casserole with foil and bake for 20 minutes.
*What’s the best substitute for halibut?It depends if you’re looking for fillets or steaks, really. Here, the recipe uses halibut fillets so you’d be best off using fluke, flounder, or turbot. If you were going to use halibut steaks, the better sub is striped bass or cod.
Recipe Testers' Reviews
This oven-roasted halibut dish is very easy to prepare. The prep time is minimal and so is the baking time. However, the results convey a much more complex dish both in flavor and appearance. The combination of the herbs, cabbage, and cherry tomatoes against the backdrop of the white fish is quite beautiful. It’s also a very healthy dish if you want to substitute olive oil and chopped herbs for the compound butter.
Speaking of the butter, it really doesn’t pay to make it into a log since, as the recipe states, the butter is going to melt during baking anyway.
Be sure to season the fish well, as it will turn out bland if you don’t—this is the only time you’re adding salt and pepper to anything in the recipe.
I think you can also substitute another firm, flaky fish fillet, such as cod or tilapia, however, you may have to adjust the baking time depending on the thickness of the fish. Twenty minutes was just ideal for the halibut. The fish came out perfectly done, not overcooked, and extremely moist.
This oven-roasted dish was a delicious surprise given the simplicity of ingredients and preparation. I wasn't able to get halibut, so I used cod which worked just fine.
The sautéed cabbage and scallions added a nice texture to the dish. I added more cherry tomatoes than called for. They add to the dish visually as well as complementing the flavor of the rest of the ingredients. My inclination was to add some seasoning to the cabbage, but I didn't. As a result of cooking the fish on top of a bed of the cabbage, the flavor of the herbed butter, wine, and lemon juice filter down into the cabbage, so no extra seasoning was necessary.
I made the herbed butter ahead of time and formed it into a log. This wouldn't be necessary but made it easy to put a couple of slices on each fish fillet. The fish was perfectly cooked. Served with a salad and a glass of Sauvignon Blanc, it was a light, satisfying summer meal.
Originally published August 16, 2009