Fish Tacos featuring Halibut...In Season Now

These fish tacos are stuffed with chili-crusted halibut chunks, a shredded cabbage, lime and cilantro slaw, chunks of avocado and drizzled with a warming orange juice chipotle sauce. The result is a very fresh and zesty meal.

According to our authorities at the Monterey Fish Market, halibut is in season and ready to enjoy. It is a mild white fish that is my personal favorite.

Health benefits of Halibut, according to WHFoods: "Halibut are truly a nutrient-dense food. A very good source of high quality protein, halibut are rich in significant amounts of a variety of important nutrients including the minerals selenium, magnesium, phosphorus and potassium; the B vitamins B12, niacin, and B6; and perhaps most important, the beneficial omega-3 essential fatty acids. Essential fatty acids are so named because they are essential for our health but cannot be made by the body; they must therefore be obtained from foods. Cold-water fish like halibut are a rich source of the omega-3 essential fats, a form of essential fatty acids in which the standard American diet is sorely deficient."

Halibut Fish Tacos with Orange-Chipotle Sauce

The Sauce:
1 cup fresh orange juice
1 teaspoon minced canned chipotle in adobo (including sauce) more as needed to increase heat
1 tablespoon distilled white vinegar

Bring orange juice, chipotles, and vinegar to a boil in a 1 to 1 1/2 quart heavy saucepan, then reduce heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, until reduced to a generous 1/3 cup, 15-20 minutes. Remove from heat and cool.

The Seasoning for the Fish:
1 1/2 teaspoons ground coriander
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 1/2 teaspoons chili powder
1 1/2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher or sea salt

Mix together in a plate or pie tin.

The Fish:
Aprox. 3/4 lb (about 1" thick) halibut fillet or steak will feed 4 people. I never think it seems like enough but it really goes a long way.

A fish steak is a cross-section of the fish, containing the backbone and any other bones that were not removed prior, whereas a fish fillet is taken from the side of the fish, cutting (filleting) the meat off of the backbone and usually attempting to leave out any other bones.

About 3 tablespoons olive oil

Rinse and pat dry fillets. Brush fish with olive oil then press each fillet into spices until completely covered.

Heat skillet over medium heat and add remaining olive oil. Place fish into hot skillet and cook undisturbed for approximately 5 minutes. Turn fish carefully and finish cooking. This will only take a few more minutes. It is done when it is turns solid white and flakes apart easily with a fork.

**Note that you have lots of options for cooking methods. You can grill the fish, broil it or bake it, whichever you prefer. I like to use my saute pan because it gives me the most control.

The Wraps:
Good quality corn tortillas

The Slaw:
1/3-1/2 head green cabbage, thinly sliced
1/2 cup loosely packed cilantro, rough chopped

Toss cabbage and cilantro together.
Whisk together the juice of 1 lime with olive oil equal to amount of juice.
Add salt and pepper to taste.
Toss dressing and cabbage/cilantro mixture.

The condiments:
Avocado-a must.
Optional: I usually put grated jack cheese on my tacos. Black beans go well with these and also salsa. We've even included Spanish rice. Have fun and enjoy! I have served this for company and let people build their own with whatever toppings they like.

To Serve:
Slice avocado into chunks.
Heat tortillas over flame until warm but not crisp. If you do not have a gas stove or grill, you can place them in a dry pan (cast iron is good) to warm them (but do not get them crispy or they will break apart).

If you tortillas are thin, double up on them. Cut the fish into chunks (remove bones if you used a steak and remove skin) and place in the tortillas. Drizzle a little of the sauce over the fish, then add your slaw, avocado (and anything else you have in mind). Have plenty of napkins available and enjoy!


Slow Cooker Black Bean Soup with Chipotle Chiles

One of the wonderful things that people do when you have a new baby is to bring over food. You see, in your sleep deprived state, you should not be operating heavy equipment or things in the kitchen like sharp knives and fire. When our daughter was born I did things in the kitchen like poor myself a cup of hot coffee and keep pouring and pouring as it overflowed puddling on the counter top and oozing over the edges until my brain finally kicked in and said "enough!"

Dylan's friend, Ranita, brought us over a wonderful dish: black bean soup, an avocado, salsa, tortilla chips. I can't remember having had black bean soup before but this stuff was delicious. We have tried to get the recipe from her but I think she is busy with her own little one. So, left to my own devices, I began searching out a recipe that would resemble the one she made. Now that I'm allowed in the kitchen again here is the winning recipe. We will be forever grateful to everyone who brought us nourishing food during those first few months as we adjusted to our new family.

Nutritionally, beans are an excellent source of complex carbohydrates and fiber. Most Americans do not get enough fiber in their diets. Beans lower cholesterol and prevent blood sugar levels from rising too rapidly after a meal, which means they're good for people with diabetes. They contribute to heart health with significant amounts of antioxidants, folic acid, vitamin B6 and magnesium. AND beans are protective against cancer. There was a study done on 90,000 women and the researchers found a significantly reduced rate of breast cancer in the women who had a higher intake of beans and lentils. Two or more servings a week was associated with a 24% reduced risk! (Encyclopedia of Healing Foods, Murray, 2005)

Black Bean Soup with Chipotle Chiles
adapted from Bon Appetit, March 2004, but pretty much left intact

The best thing about this recipe, other than the taste, is that you can put it in the crock pot and forget about it. AND for those of you who forget to soak your beans the night before, this recipe rocks as there is no presoaking needed. In addition, it's inexpensive, feeds way more than than the 6 people listed in the recipe header, and can be frozen. We even used some as a dip.

Slow cooker (aka Crock Pot)
Immersion blender or regular blender


  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 medium-size red onions, chopped
  • 1 medium-size red bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 medium-size green bell pepper, chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 4 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 16-ounce package dried black beans
  • 1.5 tablespoons chopped canned chipotle chiles* (more to taste)
  • 3 cups hot water
  • 4 cups hot vegetable broth (preferably homemade)
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 2 teaspoons coarse kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
Heat olive oil in large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add onions and both bell peppers and sauté until beginning to brown, about 8 minutes. Add garlic and cumin; stir 1 minute. Transfer mixture to 6-quart slow cooker. Add beans and chipotles, then hot water/broth mixture. Cover and cook on high until beans are very tender, about 6 hours. Here it is important to taste for the amount of spiciness you desire. If you want more heat add some more chipotle. Use your immersion blender (aka stick blender) to puree some of the soup-don't go crazy here, it only takes a minute, you want some of the beans left whole. If you are using a traditional blender, transfer 2 cups bean mixture to blender; puree until smooth then return puree to remaining soup in slow cooker. Stir in lime juice, salt, and pepper.

Ladle soup into bowls. Serve with a dollop of plain yogurt and a few cilantro leaves on top, and a side of avocado slices, tortilla chips or a cheese quesadilla.

*Chipotle chiles canned in a spicy tomato sauce, sometimes called adobo, are available at Latin American markets and many supermarkets.