Baked Halibut with Tomato Olive Tapenade

baked halibut with tomato olive tapende

I was born and spent my childhood in Odessa, Ukraine,
an important warm water port city on the shore of the Black Sea with an interesting history and
culture.  It’s a city that has been decreed to be built by Catherine the Great in place of the
Turkish fortress Khadjibei, after Russia has defeated Turkey in 1792.  Odessa’s founding fathers
were French, it was always populated by representatives of various nations and religions: – Europeans,
Asians, Christian, Jews, and Muslims.  From its inception Odessa was a melting pot of cultures and nations
and cuisines.   The city  has a soul of her own, and she generously shares a part of it with everyone who
sets their foot on her streets.  Odessa is an inspiration for poets, artists and musicians.  Numerous songs have been
dedicated to Odessa – to her beauty, her streets, her waters, her gangsters, sailors, and her fishermen.
   When I was growing up fish was a staple on the dinner table, and how could it not, in Odessa?
If there wasn’t a fish soup – there would be stewed fish, fried fish, cutlets made from little sardines, herring, baked fish,
grilled fish, gefilte fish, poached fish, etc… You name it – my mom, grandma, and aunt probably
made it or bought it at the market – the famous “Privoz”.   I love fish, and even though this blog is only a week old, four
of the 12 recipes I’ve posted so far are dedicated to fish.   The following recipe features halibut (paltus) – a fish that is loved in Odessa.
Halibut has a firm, very clean tasting flesh, and usually needs very little seasoning, baking or frying it and sprinkling with a bit of lemon
juice are  usually enough.  However, the following preparation is very complimentary to its taste, it’s an adaptation from a recipe I saw a few years
ago in an “Eating Well” magazine, and I make it often, especially in the summer, with the vine ripened sweet tomatoes and fresh oregano.
I just love how the flavors mesh with the slight bitterness of the cured olives,  saltines of the capers,  sweetness of the  cherry tomatoes,
a touch of acidity from the balsamic vinegar and the aroma of oregano. I served the fish with a mix of wild and brown rice, but it’s great with mashed or roasted potatoes,
roasted vegetables, pasta, quinoa or cous cous. Delicious, and an under 30 minutes meal – a winner in my book!

tapenade ingredients

  • 1 lbs Halibut fillet(Cod, or any other firm flesh fish fillet can be used)
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes cut in half
  • 1-2 tablespoons chopped shallot or red onion
  • 1/4 cup chopped cured olives
  • 1 tablespoon rinsed and drained capers
  • 3 small sprigs of oregano, leaves removed and chopped
  • 1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste


    1. Preheat oven to 400F.
    2. Wash and dry fish fillet. Place fish in a roasting pan,sprinkle with 1 tablespoon olive oil, salt and pepper and bake for 15- 20 minutes, or until the fish flakes
    3. Heat olive oil in a small frying pan, add shallot or onion and sautee for about a minute, just until the onion becomes soft.
    4. Add the tomatoes to onions and cook for another minute or two
    5. Add olives, capers, balsamic vinegar and oregano. Cook for another minute
    6. Take fish out of the oven, place it onto the plate and spoon the tomato – olive tapenade over it
    7. Enjoy!

baked halibut with tomato olive tapende

4 responses to “Baked Halibut with Tomato Olive Tapenade

  1. This dish looks absolutely incredible,
    really well put together ingredients.
    Just love it! Great job, Larisa!

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