Pan Seared Halibut in Tomato, Kalamata, Pinenut and Preserved Lemon Tagine with Crispy Kennebec Potato Rosti and Lemon Citrus Aioli

From Eden Hrabec, Crazyweed Kitchen, Canmore

2014 Sep/Oct

synopsis remove if there isn’t one


Tomato, Kalamata Olive, Pinenut and Preserved Lemon Tagine:

  • 8 Broxburn Farm beefsteak tomatoes
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1-1/2 T. turmeric
  • 2 T. coriander seeds, crushed
  • 1 dried red chile, crushed
  • sea salt to taste
  • 2 preserved lemons (buy them at Mediterranean groceries and specialty food stores)
  • 1/2 c. kalamata olives, halved lengthwise
  • 1/4 c. toasted pinenuts
  • chopped fresh Italian parsley for garnish
  • julienned preserved lemon rind for garnish


Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Score the bottoms of the tomatoes with a small slit and core the tops, removing all stem. Submerge the tomatoes in the boiling water for about 4 minutes. The skin will start to peel; remove the tomatoes and remove the skin. Chop the tomatoes into a rough dice and set aside.

In a large saucepan, sweat the garlic until it’s fully cooked, about 4 minutes. Add the tomatoes, turmeric, coriander seeds, chile and salt. Cook the mixture until most of the moisture is gone, about 20 minutes. This is the tagine.

Take 1 cup of tagine and purée it with the pulp from the two preserved lemons until completely blended, then mix it with the rest of the tagine.

Put the tagine back into the saucepan and add the olives and pinenuts. Taste and adjust the seasoning. Keep warm until ready to serve.
Serves 6.


Lemon Citrus Aioli:

  • 2 lemons – juice of 2, zest of 1
  • 1 orange, juice and zest
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1 T. Dijon mustard
  • 1 c. vegetable oil
  • coarse sea salt (to taste)


Place the lemon and orange zest and juice, egg yolks and mustard into the bowl of a food processor. With the motor running, slowly add the vegetable oil in a thin stream until completely combined. You want to achieve the consistency of a thin mayonnaise. Stop the food processor, season with sea salt, pulse until thoroughly mixed.


Kennebec Potato Rosti:

  • 3 Kennebec potatoes (or use russet potatoes if you can’t find Kennebec)
  • 6 cups vegetable oil
  • coarse sea salt and freshly ground pepper


Steam the potatoes for 20 minutes, then let them cool a bit. When cool enough to handle, grate them and form them into 6 loosely packed cakes – a good handful for each. Heat the oil in a medium-size pot to 360°F. on a candy thermometer. Deep fry the potato cakes until golden brown, a few at a time. Put them on paper towels to absorb excess oil and season with a generous amount of salt and pepper. Keep warm while cooking the halibut


You can buy halibut from most fish markets until the beginning of October. You will need to purchase six 5-oz. portions, which usually come with the skin removed.

Preheat the oven to 450°F. Season the halibut generously with salt and pepper on both sides. Heat a large skillet until almost smoking, then add enought oil to just coat the bottom. Using paper towels, pat the halibut dry after seasoning to absorb extra moisture.

Place the halibut in the pan, one piece at a time and sear it until you start to see a nice golden crust forming on the bottom. Place the pan into the oven for about 4 minutes. Flip the halibut and place it back in the oven to finish cooking. Keep each piece warm while cooking the others.

To assemble the dish:

Set out 6 plates and sauce them with the tomato tagine. Divide the rosti among the plates and place in the centre of the tagine. Place the halibut on the rosti and garnish it with the aioli. Sprinkle the julienned preserved lemon rind around the plate for a pretty accent and sprinkle all with the chopped parsley.