For my 9 ounce piece of (skinless) halibut I used roughly 1/4 t. kosher salt, 1/4 t. turmeric, 1/8 t. Ancho chili powder and 1/8 t. cumin.
Rub the spice into the fish and heat some olive oil and a little butter in a sauté pan set over medium-high heat. After the butter foam subsides, add the fish to the pan. Always put the fish into the pan "service side" (the side that will face the diner) down—this is because the side that goes into the pan first will always look best. In the case of a skinned piece of fish, it will be the side that was against the bones (not the side that had the skin). Cook the fish for 3 to 5 minutes, regulating the heat to maintain an active sizzle, until it is crisp and browned. Carefully turn the fish over and continue to cook until it is done the way you like it.
I think it is best when it is still slightly translucent in the center. The rule of thumb is about 10 minutes total cooking time for every inch of thickness of the fish. If you like, you may finish cooking the fish, after turning it over, in a 350° to 400° oven (make sure you are using and ovenproof sauté pan if you are going to do this).
While the fish was finishing up in the oven, I finished the salad. The individual ingredients were all very good—particularly the cucumber which was still juicy and crunchy even though it was almost a week old—but I still had my doubts about the combination.
Beet, Arugula and Cucumber Salad with Yogurt Dressing
(Recipe adapted from Olives & Oranges by Sara Jenkins & Mindy Fox)
3 medium beets (I used golden beets)
White Balsamic (this is not in the original recipe--I think beets need a little acidity and I particularly like white balsamic, but you could use something else)
1/4 c. plain yogurt
1 T. red wine vinegar
1 clove of garlic, smashed to a purée with a pinch of salt
5 T. olive oil
1 bunch of arugula, washed, stems removed if large, and torn
1 cucumber, peeled, halved lengthwise, seeded, and cut into 1/4-inch half-moons
Heat oven to 400°. Place the beets in a baking dish with a splash of water. Cover tightly with foil and bake until tender—45 minutes to an hour. Remove the beets from the oven, drain and let cool slightly. Trim the beets and rub the skin off with a paper towel. Cut the beets into eighths. Drizzle with white balsamic vinegar to taste. (See basic roasted beet recipe.)
While the beets are cooking, whisk together the yogurt, garlic and vinegar. Season with salt. While whisking constantly, add the oil in a thin stream. If necessary, add 2 or 3 drops of warm water to smooth and emulsify the dressing. Taste and correct the seasoning with salt & pepper.
In a medium-sized bowl, toss the beets with the cucumber and arugula. Season with salt and pepper. Drizzle some of the dressing over the salad and toss—adding more dressing as necessary to coat the vegetables and greens. Taste and correct the seasoning and serve. Serves 4.