Halibut is not found in the Mediterranean, however its Italian cousin, the rombo— what the French call turbot— is. All are in the same family of flat fishes that include flounder and sole.
- 3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 2 stalks of celery, diced
- 6 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
- One 28-ounce can peeled Italian plum tomatoes, crushed lightly and passed through a food mill
- ½ cup loosely packed minced fresh Italian parsley leaves
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
- 1 ½ pounds fresh spinach leaves, tough stems removed, washed and drained
- Pinch peperoncino (crushed red pepper)
- Six 5- to 6- ounce pieces halibut fillet
In a medium skillet, heat 6 tablespoons of the oil over medium heat. Add the celery and 4 of the garlic cloves and cook until the celery is wilted, about 3 minutes. Add the tomatoes, parsley and salt and black pepper to taste and cook until the sauce is lightly thickened, about 10 minutes. Transfer Meanwhile, in a large skillet, heat 2 tablespoons of the remaining oil over medium heat. Add the remaining 2 cloves of garlic and cook until golden brown, about 3 minutes. Add about half the spinach and the peperoncino and cook, tossing, until the spinach is wilted. Add the remaining spinach a handful at a time as the spinach in the skillet wilts. Cover the skillet and cook, stirring occasionally, until the spinach is tender, but still bright green. The whole process should take about 5 minutes. Keep warm. Pat the halibut fillets dry with paper towels and season them generously with salt and pepper and coat them with the remaining oil. Heat a large skillet, preferably non-stick, over medium-high heat. Add the halibut and cook, turning once, until well browned and barely opaque in the center, about 8 minutes. Drain any oil from the pan and keep the halibut warm. Drain any liquid from the spinach and divide the spinach among 6 serving plates. Top with a piece of halibut. Remove the garlic cloves from the tomato sauce and spoon some of the sauce over and around the fish. Serve immediately.