Recipe and Photo by Chef Erin Coopey,

Pan-Seared Halibut with Spicy Tomato Chutney

Serves: 4


  • 4 tbsp of sunflower oil
  • ½ cup finely chopped onion
  • 1 tsp mustard seeds
  • 1 tsp fennel seeds
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 2 dried red chiles, whole
  • ½ tsp red chili powder
  • ½ tsp ground coriander
  • ½ cup sugar
  • ½ cup white distilled vinegar
  • 2 lbs Roma tomatoes
  • ¼ tsp ground cinnamon
  • 3 whole cloves
  • pinch of nutmeg
  • 1 tsp grated ginger
  • 1 tbsp minced garlic
  • salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
  • 4 - 6 to 8 ounce halibut fillets
  • 1 tbsp sunflower oil


  1. Core and seed the tomatoes.
  2. Heat the oil in a large sauce pan over medium heat. Add chopped onion and sauté until translucent, about 10 minutes. Next, add all of the seeds, the chiles, chili powder and coriander to the oil. Cook one or two minutes until the seeds start to pop.
  3. Add the vinegar and sugar stirring until dissolved. Stir in the tomatoes, the remaining spices, ginger and garlic, reduce heat and simmer for an hour.
  4. After an hour, the tomato skins should be separating from the tomatoes and floating freely in the chutney. Use a pair of tongs to pull out the skins. Continue cooking until the is thick and syrupy but still chunky, approximately 1/2 hour. Remove the 2 whole chiles and discard. Salt to taste.
  5. Sprinkle salt and pepper all over the fish. In a large skillet, heat the remaining 1 tablespoon of oil until shimmering. Add the halibut and cook over moderately high heat until browned on the bottom, about 5 minutes. Flip the fillets and cook about 2 minutes longer. Transfer the halibut to plates, spoon the tomato chutney on top and serve.

Note: The chutney can be made several days ahead of time and warmed just before service. Leftover chutney can be refrigerated for up to 2 weeks.