Wild Pacific Halibut Burger with Blueberry Relish


By: Ned Bell
Adapted from the recipe created by Executive Chef Ned Bell as featured in the Chefs for Oceans cookbook Lure, Sustainable Seafood Recipes from the West Coast.

Chef’s Note: When you’re craving a burger but don’t want a gut bomb, swap out the fatty beef for a thick fillet of halibut. It’s just as satisfying, and the mild fish is amenable to whatever flavors you want to throw at it. For this take, I slather the fillets in citrusy mayo and a sweet-savory blueberry relish that puts boring old ketchup to shame. I pile on a shaved fennel slaw for crunch.


Citrus Mayo

  • 2 - eggs

  • 2 - egg yolks

  • 3 Tbsp - Dijon mustard

  • zest and juice of 2 limes

  • zest and juice of 2 lemons

  • 1 tsp - sea salt

  • 1 tsp - coarsely ground black pepper

  • 2 cups - canola oil

In a food processor or blender (or use an immersion blender), combine the eggs, egg yolks, mustard, lime zest and juice, lemon zest and juice, and salt and pepper. With the machine running, slowly add the oil in a thin steady stream until the mixture is emulsified and thickened and all the oil has been incorporated. Taste and adjust seasoning with more salt, pepper, or citrus if desired. Can be made ahead of time; will keep refrigerated for up to 3 days.

Blueberry Relish

  • 2 tsp - canola oil

  • 1 - small shallot, finely chopped

  • 1 ½ cups - fresh or frozen blueberries (divided)

  • 1 ½ Tbsp - honey

  • 1 ½ Tbsp - balsamic vinegar

  • 1/2 tsp - sea salt

  • 1/2 tsp - coarsely ground black pepper

Heat the oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add the shallots and sauté for 5 minutes or until tender and translucent. Add 1 cup of the blueberries, honey, vinegar, and salt and pepper. Cook for 12 minutes or until saucy and the blueberries have broken down. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the remaining 1/2 cup of blueberries. Set aside to cool. (Relish can be made and refrigerated several days ahead.)

Fennel Slaw

  • 1 bulb - fennel, halved and core removed

  • 1 Tbsp - extra-virgin olive oil

  • 1 Tbsp - lemon juice (1/2 lemon)

  • Sea salt and coarsely ground black pepper

Using a mandoline or sharp knife, slice the fennel paper thin. Toss in a bowl with the oil and lemon juice. Season with salt and pepper to taste.


Roasted Wild Pacific Halibut

  • 4 - (4 to 5 oz) skinless Wild Pacific halibut fillets

  • Sea salt and coarsely ground black pepper

  • 1 Tbsp - canola oil

  • 2 Tbsp - unsalted butter

  • 2 - sprigs thyme, leaves only

  • 1 - lemon, halved

  • 4 - soft hamburger buns, to serve

  • 4 - butter lettuce leaves, to serve

  • 4 - dill pickles, halved lengthwise, to serve

Use paper towels to pat the fish dry, and season with salt and pepper. Heat the oil in a heavy-bottomed, ovenproof skillet over medium-high heat until almost smoking. Carefully lay the fish in the pan. (If necessary, cook the fish in batches to prevent overcrowding, which will keep the fish from caramelizing properly.) Reduce the heat to medium and cook for 2 to 3 minutes; a golden crust will have formed on the flesh. Flip the fillets over and add the butter, the thyme, and a squeeze of lemon over each fish. Cook, basting with the buttery juices, for another 3 to 4 minutes or until browned and almost opaque all the way through. Transfer to a plate.

Assemble the burgers with a lettuce leaf and the fish, fennel slaw, and citrus mayo. Serve with blueberry relish and a dill pickle.

Serves 4

Recipe copyright ©2017 by Ned Bell. All rights reserved. Featured with permission.