Halibut with Tomato-Cumin Broth and Curried Couscous

This image courtesy of Joseph DeLeo

These golden-crusted steaks are served on a mound of curry-scented couscous and surrounded by tangy orange-red broth. This unusual and versatile tomato broth has fresh herbal aromas of thyme and tarragon, along with the spicy flavor of cumin. Best of all, the components are just quick enough for you to do right before serving.

NotesOrder of preparation:

• Prepare the tomato-cumin broth and keep warm.

• Mix the Curried Couscous and let sit.

• While the couscous sits, sear and roast the fish.

Make-ahead notes:

• The tomato-cumin broth can be refrigerated up to 3 days.

• The Curried Couscous can be refrigerated up to 3 days. Rewarm over low heat or in a microwave.

Makes6 servings


Total Timeunder 2 hours

Make Ahead RecipeYes

Kid FriendlyYes

One Pot MealYes

OccasionCasual Dinner Party, Cooking for a date, Formal Dinner Party

Recipe Coursemain course

Dietary Considerationegg-free, halal, kosher, peanut free, soy free, tree nut free

Five Ingredients or LessYes


Taste and Textureherby, light, savory, sharp, spiced


  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1½ medium onions, cut into medium dice
  • 1 medium red bell pepper, seeded and roughly cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 3 medium-size ripe tomatoes, roughly cut into 2-inch pieces
  • 1 teaspoon finely chopped tarragon
  • 1 teaspoon finely chopped thyme
  • 2½ teaspoon ground cumin
  • 2½ cups Chicken Stock, Vegetable Stock, or low-salt canned broth
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 6 halibut steaks or fillets, about 8 ounces each
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon pure or virgin olive oil
  • 1½ to 2 tablespoons butter
  • 3 cups Curried Couscous


  1. For the tomato-cumin broth:

  2. In a medium saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat and sauté the onions and bell pepper until soft, 12 to 14 minutes. Add the tomatoes, tarragon, thyme, cumin, and stock, raise the heat to high, and bring to a boil, then lower the heat to medium and simmer for 20 minutes. Strain through a coarse strainer, pushing down on the solids, and season with salt and pepper.

  3. For the halibut:

  4. Preheat the oven to 400°F. Season the fish with salt and pepper.

  5. In a large sauté pan, heat the oil over high heat until smoking. Add the fish flesh-side down and sear until golden, about 30 seconds. Place the pan in the oven for 4 to 5 minutes, or until the fish is nearly cooked to your preferred degree of doneness. Return the pan to the stove over high heat and add the butter. Turn the fish and cook until done, 1 to 2 minutes. Turn the fish back over and remove from the pan. (If the fish is difficult to turn, Just leave it in the oven until done, another 1 to 2 minutes.)

  6. To serve:

  7. Mound the couscous in the center of 6 serving plates and top with the fish. Spoon the broth around the couscous.

  8. Variation

  9. For halibut with tomato-cumin broth and seafood, in a large skillet or sauté pan over high heat, bring to a boil ½ cup combined stock, water, and wine. Add 18 cleaned clams or mussels, cover, and steam until they open, discarding any that do not. Scatter a few steamed clams or mussels around each serving of fish.

    Serve tomato-cumin broth with:

  10. Green and yellow squash ribbons

  11. Any seared and roasted or grilled fish and grilled vegetables

  12. Roasted Fennel, Tomatoes, and Olives

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