Scrumptious Seafood: Baked Halibut with Tapenade Crust & Caponata

Photo: Tracey Kusiewicz, Halibut the Cookbook

We are at the tail end of the halibut fishing season. And if you enjoy halibut, now is the time to have it fresh! Here is a recipe from Karen Barnaby’s book Halibut the Cookbook, available for purchase at the Gulf of Georgia Cannery Store.

Baked Halibut with Tapenade Crust & Caponata


  • ¾ lb halibut fillet (375 g)
  • 1/3 cup pitted kalamata olives (75 ml)
  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil (15 ml)
  • 1 cup Caponata (250 ml)


  • 2 lb eggplant, skin on, cubed (1 kg)
  • 1 lb zucchini or other summer squash (500 g)
  • 2 tsp salt (10 ml)
  • ½ cup extra virgin olive oil (125 ml)
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 4 large cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped
  • 1  14oz can Roma tomatoes, chopped or puréed (398 ml)
  • 1 Tbsp brown sugar (15 ml)
  • ¼ cup tomato paste (60 ml)
  • 3 Tbsp balsamic vinegar (45 ml)
  • ½ cup black olives, pitted and chopped (125 ml)
  • 2 to 3 Tbsp chopped fresh basil or rosemary (30-40 ml)
  • Salt and fresh ground pepper to taste
  • Hot sauce (optional)


  1. Preheat the oven to 325°F (160ºC), Trim the edges of the fillet to create an even piece, about 1 inch (2.5 cm) thick. Cut the filler into two equal squares. Set the fish aside on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
  2. In a blender, purée the olives with the olive oil to form a very smooth paste. Press through a fine sieve if necessary to remove any bigger bits. Using a spatula or flexible knife, frost the top of each piece of fish with the olive paste, keeping it even and clean on the edges.
  3. Bake the fish for 10 to 15 minutes, until just barely cooked through. Meanwhile, heat the caponata. To serve, place some capanata in the center of each plate and balance a piece of fish on top.


  1. Put the eggplant and zucchini cubes in a colander. Toss with the salt and set in the sink to drain for half an hour. Rinse quickly and pat dry.
  2. Heat the oil in a large sauté pan or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the onion, garlic, and peppers and sauté for 5 minutes. Add the eggplant and zucchini cubes and sauté for 5 to 10 minutes longer, until the mixture begins to soften. Stir in the tomatoes, cover the pan, and cook together for 10 minutes. Remove the lid and continue to simmer until the vegetables are very soft and the liquid in the pan has been reduced, about 5 minutes longer.
  3. Whisk together the brown sugar, tomato paste, and vinegar. Add to the pan and mix well. Stir in the olives. Remove from the heat and add the fresh herbs. Season with salt and pepper (and a little hot sauce if you like it spicy). Cool to room temperature and serve. Refrigerated caponata will keep for a week, or it can be frozen.

Recipe Source: Halibut the Cookbook, edited by Karen Barnaby

The sustainable seafood choice would be Pacific halibut, primarily Alaskan fish caught by bottom longline.

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