Pesto seems to be one of those things that people either love or hate. Personally, I love it. And to be honest, I don't understand why you wouldn't. Basil, parmesan, garlic, pine nuts... what's not to love? Not to mention pesto's versatility: tossed with pasta, used as a sandwich spread, on crostini, thinned out with a little oil and used as a salad dressing, a marinade for meat, swirled into bread dough or scones... seriously, the options are endless.
This recipe uses pesto in a way that I never have before. Beautiful halibut fillets are coated with pesto, then topped with a crust of Parmesan cheese and panko. The combo of the pesto with the parmesan crust is really great - nice and flavorful, with a crispy and crunchy coating. The fish kind of absorbs the pesto as it cooks, so the whole fish is permeated with delicious pesto flavor. And perhaps the best part? It's one of the fastest dinners I've made in quite a while. Halibut is always a big hit with both Joey and Caroline, so this was a slam dunk dinner.
Pesto-Parmesan Crusted Halibut
barely adapted from Curisine at Home, Cuisine Light
As I mentioned, I used halibut for this, but I think any mild white fish would work just as well. Just adjust the cooking time depending on the thickness of the fish.
- 1/2 cup panko bread crumbs
- 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
- salt and pepper
- 1 Tbs lemon zest
- 8 tsp basil pesto, divided
- 4 halibut fillets, each about 1 inch thick and 4 oz each.
- cooking spray
- fresh lemon juice, for serving
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees and line a baking sheet with foil. Spray the foil with nonstick cooking spray.
Meanwhile, combine the panko, Parmesan, and salt and pepper to taste in a small bowl. Stir the lemon zest into the basil.
Arrange the halibut in a single layer on the baking sheet and pat dry with a paper towel. Season with salt and pepper, and spread 2 teaspoons of basil over each piece of fish. Press the parmesan-panko mixture over the pesto. Spray with nonstick cooking spray.
Cook until the top is turning golden-brown and the fish flakes easily with a fork, about 10 to 12 minutes. Squeeze the lemon juice over the top and serve immediately.