Pan-seared Halibut with Melted Cherry Tomatoes and Tarragon (& review of The Nourished Kitchen cookbook)

pan-seared halibut with melted cherry tomatoes and tarragon

Tender and moist, halibut is cooked quickly on the stovetop and then graced with the bright flavors of bite-sized tomatoes, gently cooked into a simple, yet flavorful sauce. This is a perfect example of the simple, delicious food that Jenny from Nourished Kitchen produces time and time again.

And that’s why I am thrilled to share this beautiful recipe from her incredible new cookbook (amazon affiliate link), The Nourished Kitchen: Farm-to-Table recipes for the Traditional Foods Lifestyle. This book is a real gem. Truly. Each section helps you know how to serve food from the sea, pasture, garden, field, wild, orchard, range, and larder. It’s real food at its best.

What I love about Jenny’s recipes is that they allow the true flavors of the food to shine. Her writing style is warm, reassuring and poetic, and her photos do justice to the natural beauty of the food without trying to manipulate food into something it is not (can you tell I’m a fan?). The section this recipe comes out of (from the waters) has a variety of dishes I am drooling over and can’t wait to try. This includes Salt-Roasted Clams with Garlic Butter, Whole Mackerel Roasted on Potatoes, and Grilled Sardines with Preserved Lemon Gremolata. Dr, Weston A Price was impressed with the health a seafood-centric traditional diet produced, and we know that there are a variety of nutritional benefits to eating seafood on a regular basis. Jenny’s recipes will certainly help get it on your table.

Nourished kitchen

Special Pre-Order Bonuses

I was lucky enough to get a preview copy, but you can pre-order her book right now! As a cookbook author, let me say this: It really helps authors out when you pre-order, so if you are planning on ordering it, do it now. If you do, you can also email your receipt to,  no later than April 15 at midnight pacific time, and you will get special access to the cookbook’s membership portal which includes instructional videos, menu ideas, a few sneak peek recipes from the book as well as an exclusive look at recipes that they did not include in the book due to space constraints.


Jenny’s also doing giveaways to promote her book as well, so if you want the chance to win some great things, check it out. 

Virtual Dinner Party

This recipe is part of the virtual dinner party we bloggers are doing in celebration of Jenny’s book. It’s a great opportunity to see some of the beautiful recipes in the book before you buy. Here’s the schedule:

• April 6: Chapter 1: Diana @ My Humble Kitchen
• April 7: Chapter 2: Kresha @ Nourishing Joy
• April 8: Chapter 3: Jill @ The Prairie Homestead
• April 9: Chapter 4: Kimi @ The Nourishing Gourmet (that’s me!)
• April 10: Chapter 5: DaNelle @ Weed ‘Em and Reap
• April 11: Chapter 6: Aubrey @ Home Grown and Healthy
• April 12: Chapter 7: Katie @ Kitchen Stewardship
• April 13: Chapter 8: Tamara and Kelly @ Oh Lardy

And without further ado, here’s this lovely recipe.

Pan-seared Halibut with Melted Cherry Tomatoes and Tarragon
Serves: 4
During the first few weeks of summer, tomatoes trickle slowly into the farmers market, a few baskets at a time. Such a short supply after months of cold-weather crops like roots and greens means those first few tomatoes command hefty prices and seem to disappear the instant the market opens. So I wait to purchase tomatoes until late summer, when their newness wears off and baskets at the market overflow with a seemingly continuous supply of marble-sized cherry tomatoes or even the heftier golden Amana tomatoes that can weigh 2 or 3 pounds each. The price of tomatoes falls as the supply increases, and I buy them by the case. I call on close friends and we preserve as much as we can, but I also serve them with nearly every meal—a few dropped into an omelet, roasted with fennel for soup, tossed with greens for salad, and, frequently, as a simple sauce for fish or meat. While creamy white-fleshed fish like halibut pair beautifully with mild flavors, buttery sauces, and a very light introduction of lemon or fresh herbs, they also marry well with more robust and assertive flavors like tomato. I reserve this dish for late in the summer, when bright, ripe cherry tomatoes are both inexpensive and abundant. Once they hit the hot pan, they nearly melt and their flavorful juices concentrate in the heat, becoming syrupy and thick. I like to throw in a handful of tarragon at the very end, though both basil and flat-leaf parsley also work well.
  • 4 (4- to 6-ounce) halibut fillets
  • ½ teaspoon finely ground unrefined sea salt
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme leaves
  • 1 tablespoon clarified butter (page 59, of book, see below)
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 shallot, minced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 pound cherry tomatoes, halved
  • ¼ cup coarsely chopped fresh tarragon
  1. Sprinkle the halibut with the salt, pepper, and thyme. Set the fillets on a plate and let them rest a bit while you prepare to cook the fish.
  2. Melt the butter in a wide skillet over medium-high heat. Once the butter melts, arrange the halibut skin side down in the hot fat and sear for 4 or 5 minutes, until the skin crisps and browns. Flip the fish and continue cooking for another 2 to 3 minutes, until it flakes easily when pierced by a fork. Transfer the halibut to a serving plate and tent it with parchment paper or foil to keep it warm.
  3. To prepare the tomatoes, set the skillet you used to cook the fish over medium heat and pour in the olive oil. Toss in the shallot and garlic and cook, stirring frequently, until fragrant and translucent, about 6 minutes. Toss in the tomatoes and sauté them with the shallot and garlic until they soften and release their juice, about 2 minutes. Add the tarragon and continue cooking, stirring frequently, for 1 minute.
  4. Uncover the waiting halibut. Spoon the melted cherry tomato mixture over the fish and serve immediately.

Clarified Butter
Clarifying butter deepens its flavor and color and concentrates its butterfat by removing its milk solids. The process also helps to extend its shelf life. Store clarified butter at room temperature out of direct light, just as you would store olive oil, coconut oil, or any other concentrated fat. Once you’ve removed the milk solids from the butterfat, there’s little risk of spoilage.You can apply high heat to clarified butter in ways that would cause regular butter to scorch. Makes about 12 ounces.
  • 1 pound unsalted butter, cut into 1-inch pieces
  1. Place the butter in a wide sauté pan set over low heat. Allow the butter to melt slowly. As it heats, froth and foam will gather on top of the liquid butter. Skim this off and discard it. Continue heating the butter until it becomes perfectly clear, about 10 minutes.
  2. Set a fine-mesh sieve over a bowl and line it with a double layer of cheesecloth or a single layer of butter muslin. Pour the melted butter through the cloth and into the bowl. Discard the milk solids in the cloth, then pour the clarified butter into three 4-ounce jars or one 12-ounce jar and cover tightly. Stored in a cool, dark space, the clarified butter will keep for up to 1 year.

Reprinted with permission from The Nourished Kitchen by Jennifer McGruther, (c) 2014.
Published by Ten Speed Press, a division of Random House, Inc.
Photography (c) 2014 by Jennifer McGruther
Publisher retains all copyrights and the right to require immediate removal of this excerpt for copyright or other business reasons.

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I love beautiful and simple food that is nourishing to the body and the soul. I wrote Fresh: Nourishing Salads for All Seasons and Ladled: Nourishing Soups for All Seasons as another outlet of sharing this love of mine. I also love sharing practical tips on how to make a real food diet work on a real life budget. Find me online elsewhere by clicking on the icons below!

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  1. says

    i can’t wait to get my paws on this book! i’m a huge fan of jenny’s work as well. ps. your last post really hit home for me, as i’m sure you know. cheers kimi!

  2. says

    This looks absolutely delicious. So rustic and flavorful! I’m always at a huge loss as to what to do with halibut, so I’m excited to try this recipe. Thank you for sharing and congrats to Jenny on the beautiful book!

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