Although we eat a primarily plant-based diet in our house, we do eat a fair amount of fish. On average we eat 1-3 servings of fish per week from various sources — our favorites are wild Alaskan salmon and halibut. My standby recipes are broiled salmon and halibut, but I recently decided to start experimenting with other preparation techniques and developed this Coconut Crusted Halibut recipe. It’s still straightforward to make, but the flavor profile and texture is more exciting than the simple broiled version.
Coconut Crusted Halibut pairs perfectly for a well-balanced meal with Curried Brassicas and Pineapple Chutney. Although we love halibut and have a great local source for it here, it might not be the most practical option for everyone. If you don’t want to use halibut, give cod, tilapia, or another mild-flavored whitefish a try. If you want to make the meal vegan, simply substitute extra firm tofu for the halibut and either use an egg replacement in the batter or just omit the egg, it should work either way.
This recipe uses coconut flour, milk, and unsweetened shredded coconut in the breading, making it gluten-free as well as paleo. You’ll only use half of a 14 ounce can of coconut milk in this recipe, but you can use the other half of the can in the Curried Brassicas (yay for minimizing food waste.) I’m always a little leery of recipes that call for the fish to be flipped half-way through the cooking process, historically I’ve had bad luck with the fish sticking to the pan. But with the breading covering the fish, sticking isn’t as problematic. I did prepare this recipe on a non-stick griddle with a little coconut oil to ensure it didn’t stick and it worked beautifully, but a cast-iron or stainless steel frypan should also work provided you use adequate oil. Because the thickness of fish fillets varies dramatically, the cooking times listed below are just a guide. Taking the internal temperature of the thickest part of the flesh is the safest way to ensure proper cooking — that temperature should reach 145°F.
- 2, 8 ounce halibut fillets
- ½ cup coconut flour
- 1 cup coconut milk
- 1 large egg
- 1 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
- 1 tsp - 1 Tablespoon coconut oil (depending on if your pan is non-stick or not)
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Place the a) coconut flour, b) the coconut milk and egg whisked together and c) the shredded coconut into three separate shallow containers large enough to lay each piece of fish down flat.
- Season the coconut flour and shredded coconut with a little salt and pepper.
- Salt and pepper both sides of each piece of fish.
- Coat the fish with the breading by placing each side of the fish into each respective part of the batter, starting with the flour, then the coconut milk/egg mixture, and finally with the shredded coconut.
- Set each piece of breaded fish onto a clean plate until all the fish is breaded.
- Add coconut oil to a non-stick griddle or fry-pan and warm to medium heat.
- Once the surface is heated, lay each piece of fish down and let cook until it's cooked half-way through the thickness of the fish (5-10 minutes depending on the thickness of your fillet).
- Flip the fish over and cook the remaining side for another 5-10 minutes.
- Ensure doneness by taking the temperature of the fish, the flesh should be 145°F.