Recipe: Grilled Halibut with Kale Pistachio Pestoby Jen Sinkler
Food blogger Shanna Schad would make the best neighbor. I always tell her so — she’s already a fantastic neighbor all the way from Vegas. Last year, I was lucky enough to receive several care packages filled to the brim with her baked goods, but I really think she’s outdone herself with the recipe below: grilled halibut with kale pistachio pesto.
If only fish would keep better via airmail.
I’m Shanna Schad, and I write, bake for, cook for and photograph the food blog Pineapple and Coconut. I’m a self-taught baker, home cook extraordinaire and amateur food photographer. I cook and bake a wide variety of cuisines, but the main theme of my cooking is that I always stick to organic, locally sourced (as much as possible) whole foods.
As you might imagine, I’m a big fan of buying produce from farmers markets, CSAs and produce co-ops, and it always seems like there’s an abundance of green leafy veggies like kale and chard. I tried making kale chips once. Once. And it’s a pretty strong taste in smoothies, so I wanted to find a way to incorporate it into our meals without it going to waste. (My kids throw enough of their food on the floor as it is, so I try to keep waste to a minimum.) Plus, kale is so good for you!
I am a huge fan of pesto, so I knew that’s what I wanted to experiment with. Traditional pesto is made with basil and pine nuts – which is great, but I like throwing whatever I’ve got in my food processor and calling it pesto. I’ve made it with spinach, arugula and walnuts before, as well as pepitas and cilantro, but my new favorite is kale and pistachio pesto — it’s fantastic slathered all over halibut. Warning: It is, however, really difficult not to eat all the pistachios while shelling them to make it.
Hope you all enjoy this recipe as much as my family does!
Kale Pistachio Pesto
Yields: about 3 cups
Prep time: 10 min.
2 cups fresh basil
1 bunch kale – trimmed from the stems and roughly chopped (about 3–4 packed cups)
¾ c pistachios, roasted (salted or unsalted – if using salted, add less sea salt later)
4 cloves of garlic, peeled
Zest and juice of one lemon
½–3/4 c extra virgin olive oil
2/3 c fresh Parmesan cheese
Combine garlic cloves, zest and pistachios in food processor and pulse until chopped up. Add the basil, lemon juice and kale and blend. Slowly add in the olive oil in a slow stream through the opening at the top, stopping every so often to scrape down the sides until you reach desired consistency. I like to leave it a pretty coarse mixture.
Add salt and pepper to taste. I usually start with a half of a teaspoon or so each, and pulse a few more times. Taste and add more salt if necessary.
Transfer mixture to a bowl and stir in the parmesan cheese. If not using immediately, cover with plastic wrap pressed against the surface before putting the lid of the bowl on. Or, you can prep a baking sheet with a piece of wax paper and place 2–3 tbsp spoonfuls a few inches apart and freeze. Once frozen, remove and keep in a freezer baggie. This way, when you need pesto you can grab a blob or two out and thaw instead of having to thaw the entire batch.
Grilled Halibut with Kale Pistachio Pesto
Four 4–6 ounce halibut fillets
Kale Pesto (recipe above)
First, make the kale pistachio pesto. This will yield more than this recipe calls for, so reserve 2–3 tbsp for each halibut fillet and save the rest for later.
Preheat your grill. Clean the grates and lightly oil with olive oil spray so the fish won’t stick.
Rinse and pat dry the halibut fillets; squeeze a little lemon juice over the top of each fillet. Grill for about 8 min total, turning the fillets every 3–4 min. until the fish is opaque in the middle, flakes easily with a fork and grill marks are starting to form.
Remove from grill and place on plates. Spread about 2 to 3 tbsp of the pesto on top of the halibut. Serve hot. Goes great with salad.
For more from Shanna, check out and subscribe to her absolutely fantastic food blog, Pineapple and Coconut, which covers “healthy cooking, baking sweet treats, sewing, crafts, DIY and home repair.” You’ll find a large recipe index, a DIY and tutorial section, and even a cooking bucket list (what a great idea!). You can also connect with her directly on Facebook and Twitter. Highly recommend that you, too, become her virtual neighbor.