Chinese Five-Spice Halibut with Pickled Red Pepper and Ginger

Not too fond of the risotto picture, eh?  Well, today’s meal is definitely a little bit nicer-looking.  Also, I finally did get Picasa.  That took about five seconds, well worth procrastinating for two weeks.  So I’m going to go back and brighten up some of the photos from previous posts that could use it.  Which of course includes that putrid-looking risotto (I swear it was delicious).  So get ready for some serious food porn!

[Halibut photo]We’re eating fish about once per week, much less than when we started this diet a month ago today (big ups to us).  I really feel like I could go completely vegetarian, but I think we’ll keep eating fish for a few more months just to grease the wheels of change a little bit.  And by the way, if this blog has gotten you thinking about trying a reduced-meat diet, I highly recommend it.  I’ve felt so much better since I’ve started eating this way, feeling especially great in the evenings after dinner when I used to be so full and tired.  I’m staying up later and getting up earlier, and feeling completely rested.  The changes have been immense, and I even considered myself a healthy eater before this.  So if you’ve been reading each day, thinking this food looks good but not actually doing anything, then just go for it!  Commit to something like the 10-Day Challenge and decide what parts to keep after it’s over.  Jumping into to the deep end is so much easier than slowly easing your way into the pool!

Ok, so here’s todays recipe. (UPDATE: now requires you to sign up for a free trial membership in order to view this recipe, so if you want to make it, you’ll have to do that.)  Back to the trusty Fine Cooking.  Not too much to say about this recipe, except that it was really good!  Simple to make too; just leave time for the red pepper and ginger to pickle for half an hour or so.  The fish is cooked by pan-roasting, a method that I love to use.  But again, if you do this, don’t burn your hand!  Leave a towel or potholder on the handle  after you take the pan out of the oven.  It’s so easy to forget, grab it, and burn your entire palm.  The first time I did it was just after I spent a few hours making this awesome Bobby Flay chicken with blackberry sauce, and I couldn’t enjoy the meal because my hand hurt so bad that I kept checking to make sure it hadn’t fallen off.

There aren’t a whole lot of veggies in this meal, but it’s still pretty good nutritionally and is a good way to get some variety in your diet.  Sesame oil, peanut oil, raw ginger, raw garlic, and Chinese five-spice just don’t show up in most recipes.  I had to substitute for the mirin since I couldn’t find it in the store.  I just used dry sherry, but I read that you could also use a soy sauce and sugar mixture.

This is a fun one.  Give it a try!  Portions are a little small, so you might consider using larger halibut fillets or serving a vegetable and rice on the side.  But it’s a great dish.  If I waited an hour to get a seat at Bonefish and then they brought me this when I ordered, I’d be a pretty happy pescetarian.  Unless I had ordered a burger.  Erin and I agreed that this is a definite 4 out of 5 cows.  I think she might have even had a “5” dancing around in her head, but I’m just not ready to take that step in my relationship with this blog.



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  1. I like the use of Chinese 5 spice in this recipe. I am thinking about making your recipe with Tilapia this weekend. I’ll let you know how it turns out.

  2. I have not had meat in over a month- which I can’t believe. I had never considered not eating meat until Tony Robbins talked about it on the last day of the seminar. In fact, I didn’t realize I wasn’t going to eat meat until on the way home we stopped at a fast food restaurant and I ordered the roast beef sandwich. I took a bite or two and then pitched the rest. Just couldn’t do it. I suppose what he said had quite an impact. It’s been more by default that I haven’t eaten meat… not initially a decsion to eat healthier BUT… YOU’RE RIGHT! What a difference in the way I feel! I feel lighter inside, a more refreshed feeling. Not so bogged down somehow. It’s hard to explain… just brighter and cleaner.

  3. “Soy sauce and sugar” would not be a substitution for mirin! Mirin is a clear, sweet cooking wine. Your choice of sherry was probably closer, but a rice vinegar and sugar would probably be a better match.

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