Halibut with Tzatziki Sauce

Halibut with Tzatziki This flaky, tender halibut is marinated in lemon, dill and olive oil and topped with a tzatziki sauce flavored with garlic-infused olive oil instead of garlic cloves. If halibut is overpriced in your market, buy cod instead. It goes beautifully with these seasonings, but it cooks quicker, so watch it carefully once it goes in the oven. Serve the leftover tzatziki on grilled chicken for another great meal.

I’m hoping to get down to Homer this summer, where many of the Alaska halibut charters are based. If I’m lucky, I’ll get some fish for my freezer. But even if I don’t, Homer is one of the prettiest places I’ve ever seen so it will be worth the drive. It takes your breath away when you round the headland and see Kachemak Bay ringed by mountains and glaciers spilling into the water. You can charter a boat for deep-sea halibut fishing or take a water taxi to one of the islands dotting the bay. Wilderness is literally within sight. There’s also a thriving artist’s colony for the less adventurous, full of lovely galleries and boutiques. I like to wander along the Spit, a 4.5-mile (7.2 km) long piece of land that juts into the bay, with the Homer Boat Harbor on the sheltered side and gift shops, galleries and restaurants lining the road that runs from the town to Lands End at the tip of the Spit.

Halibut with Tzatziki Sauce

Serves 4 to 6, adapted from “Cooking Alaska’s Wild Halibut”

Tzatziki Sauce:

1/2 of an English cucumber (seedless variety), peeled and minced
1 cup (240 ml) plain Greek yogurt, regular or lactose-free, or non-dairy yogurt
1 tablespoon (15 ml) fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon (15 ml) garlic-infused olive oil
1 to 2 teaspoons (5 to 10 ml) finely chopped fresh dill
Salt and pepper to taste

At least 2 hours or up to 1 day ahead, make the tzatziki sauce to allow the flavor to develop sufficiently. Place the peeled, minced cucumber in a clean towel and squeeze as much liquid out as you can. In a medium bowl, stir together the cucumber, yogurt, lemon juice, oil and dill. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours or up to 1 day before serving. Stir the sauce and season to taste with salt and pepper.

Halibut:

2 tablespoons (30 ml) fresh lemon juice
4 tablespoons (60 ml) garlic-infused olive oil
1 teaspoon (5 ml) lemon zest (yellow part only)
2 teaspoons (10 ml) finely minced dill
1 1/2 to 2 pounds (675 to 900 grams) halibut fillets, cut into 4 to 6 pieces

Preheat the oven to 450º  F (232º C). Combine the lemon, oil, zest and dill in a large zip lock bag. Add the halibut, press the air out of the bag and close it. Let it rest on the counter for 15 to 20 minutes.

Line a rimmed baking sheet with heavy-duty foil. Remove the fillets from the marinade and arrange them on the baking sheet. Bake in the oven for 8 to 12 minutes, until the fish is opaque in the center and flakes when tested with a fork. Serve with tzatziki sauce.