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Halibut with Citrus Slaw and Grapefruit Compote

Halibut with Citrus Slaw and Grapefruit Compote
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Halibut is a favorite fish of mine. Mild and flaky, it’s a thicker filet than most fish and stays more moist and delicious. Topped with a compote of grapefruit, fennel and cilantro with a grapefruit vinaigrette, this fish becomes a meal worthy of a 4-star spa. The slaw is quick, easy and colorful with red and white cabbage, carrot, chile pepper and cilantro. Fresh and simple never tasted so good.
It’s that easy: I explain in the recipe how to section or “supreme” the grapefruit. If you’re having trouble envisioning the process, just google “How to supreme an orange” and you will find video tutorials on the technique. Or, you could just slice the grapefruit down any way you see fit. Either way. Because you are the boss of your grapefruit.

Halibut with Citrus Slaw and Grapefruit Compote

Halibut with Citrus Slaw and Grapefruit Compote


  • 1 cup Napa cabbage, thinly sliced
  • 1 cup red cabbage, thinly sliced
  • 1 carrot, grated
  • 1/2 cup fennel, thinly sliced
  • 1/4 cup cilantro. minced
  • 1 white, pink or ruby red grapefruit, peeled and sectioned, juice squeezed from membranes
  • 2 tsp. lemon juice
  • 1/2 tsp. salt, divided, plus more for sprinkling
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Pinch of sugar
  • Pinch of chile flake
  • 3 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
  • Two 6 to 8 oz. halibut filets


  1. On a large cutting board, thinly slice the cabbages and transfer them to a medium bowl. Grate the carrot and add it to the bowl. Thinly slice the fennel and transfer to a small bowl. Chop the cilantro and add 3 Tbsp. to the cabbage and 1 Tbsp. to the fennel. Set aside.
  2. Cut away the top and bottom (north and south poles) of the grapefruit to reveal the flesh and cut away the peel and pith from the sides of the grapefruit, following the curve of the fruit so that you don’t cut away any of the flesh. With a sharp paring knife, cut the fruit from between the membranes from the outside to the center just inside the membrane on either side of a section. Remove the section, dropping it into the bowl with the fennel. Work your way around the grapefruit until all the sections have been freed from the membranes, then squeeze the remaining juice from the membranes into a small bowl. You should have about 1/4 cup.
  3. To the grapefruit juice, add the lemon juice, 1/4 tsp. salt, a few grinds of pepper and a pinch of sugar and chile flake. Stir to melt the salt and sugar and whisk in 2 Tbsp. of the oil. Taste for seasoning and add more salt, sugar or lemon if it needs it.
  4. Add 1 Tbsp. of the vinaigrette to the grapefruit/fennel mixture and stir the remaining into the cabbage, tossing to mix well. Taste the slaw and add the remaining 1/4 tsp. salt and pepper to taste.
  5. Preheat the broiler and arrange the rack on the second highest placement.
  6. Sprinkle the fish with salt and pepper.
  7. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat and add the remaining 1 Tbsp. olive oil. When it shimmers, add the fish to the pan, skin side down (it should sizzle) and cook for 2 minutes.
  8. Transfer the pan to the broiler and cook for another 4 or 5 minutes or until the fish is cooked through and flakes with a fork.
  9. Divide the slaw and fish between two plates and top the fish with the grapefruit compote.

Extra hungry? Add a microwaveable bag of frozen rice. There are some pretty tasty ones at my local Heinen’s in an array of flavors. It’s the perfect extendable dinner solution.

In the glass: With all the citrus, a lean Sauvignon Blanc from Kim Crawford sounds sublime.

Carla Snyder

By Carla Snyder

Carla has spent the past 30 years in the food world as a caterer, artisan baker, cooking school teacher, food writer and author of 6 cook books including the James Beard nominated Big Book of Appetizers. Her passion is sharing fresh, cooked-from-scratch weeknight meals that cut prep time and practically eliminate that nightly sink full of dishes.

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