This halbut burger recipe, adapted from Jill Silverman Hough‘s book 100 Perfect Pairings: Main Dishes to Enjoy with Wines You Love (Wiley), is simple way to showcase halibut, which is in season in spring and summer. Wild-caught Alaskan halibut is the most sustainable choice. “Napa cabbate has a juiciness, a refreshing crunch that regular cabbage doesn’t–which helps the slaw nicely complement a similarly light and refreshing piece of fish,” says Hough. She recommends opening a bottle of Pinot Grigio to serve with this burger. It will also work well with Chardonnay, especially if you spread some mayonnaise on the buns or boost the amount of blue cheese in the slaw. “Oh both!” says Hough. This dish is great for warm-weather entertaining because you can do much of the prep work in advance and then it comes together in no time.
- 3 tablespoons white wine or Champagne vinegar
- 1/2 shallot, finely minced
- 1/4 teaspoon sugar
- 2-1/2 teaspoons coarse sea salt, or more to taste, divided
- 1-1/4 teaspoons black pepper, divided
- 5 tablespoons canola oil, divided
- 1/2 pound napa cabbage (about 1/4 medium head), cored and cut into 1/4-inch shreds (you should have about 3 cups)
- 1/4 cup (1 ounce) crumbled blue cheese
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh mint
- 6 (6-ounce) firm white-fleshed fish fillets, such as halibut or sturgeon
- 6 whole-wheat hamburger buns, split horizontally
Combine the first 3 ingredients in a small bowl. Add 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper, whisking to dissolve the sugar and salt. Whisk in 3 tablespoons oil. Set aside. (You can prepare the dressing up to 3 days in advance, storing it covered in the refrigerator.)
Combine the cabbage, cheese and mint in a large bowl. (You can prepare the undressed slaw up to 4 hours in advance, storing it covered in the refrigerator.) Add the dressing to the slaw mixture, gently tossing to combine. Taste, ideally with your wine, and add more vinegar, salt and/or pepper if you like. Set aside.
Preheat the grill to medium-high.
Brush both sides of the fish with the remaining 2 tablespoons oil and sprinkle with the remaining 2 teaspoons salt and 1 teaspoon pepper. Grill until cooked through, about 3 minutes per side. During the last minute, place the buns , cut side down, on the grill to toast.
Place the fish fillets on the bottom halves of the buns. Top with the slaw and the top halves of the buns, and serve.