food for the mind

In the Kitchen

The Quickest Dinner Party Dish: Roasted Halibut with Citrus, Fennel and Olives


  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 fennel bulb, thinly sliced
  • ⅓ cup white wine
  • ¼ cup fresh orange juice
  • 1 orange – flesh sliced in ¼-inch rounds
  • 2 halibut fillets
  • ½ cup kalamata olives


Preheat oven to 400°F.

Add olive oil to roasting pan. Add fennel, olives, white wine and orange juice. Place halibut on the fennel mixture. Arrange orange slices around the fish.

Roast halibut for 15 to 20 minutes, depending on thickness. Halibut is cooked when the flesh turns opaque.

Remove fish from the roasting pan. If the fennel needs more time to caramalize, cook it for five more minutes.

Transfer fennel and orange mixture to serving plates. Add halibut to the plate and garnish with a fresh fennel frond.

It’s Saturday night. I’m looking forward to catching up with my girlfriends. We’ve arranged to go to Feast in the East Village so I can sample their five course vegetable tasting menu. Alas, a text from my mother thwarts dinner plans.

It says “Where are you? I hope you and your friends are safe.” Ominous indeed. I check the time. It’s 4:30am her time. She’s had a dream or a vision. She gets visions. They come in handy when I’m having men dilemmas. Today’s message had nothing to do with men. It was a warning.

I call for clarity. She advises me not to go out. After a 40 minute conversation, I agree not to go out. I re-route my friends to my apartment. They are bringing the wine.  I’m responsible for the food. I have no food.

I have no time either. Chelsea market is a block away. I run over, pick up halibut, fennel, oranges and olives. It’s a one-pot meal tonight. Roasted halibut with fennel, orange and olives.

The girls arrive. I haven’t started dinner. I chop vegetables while they pour the wine. Five minutes later the meal is in the oven. Twenty minutes later, we’re eating roasted halibut with caramelized fennel, infused with citrus and olives.

It’s a balmy New York night. The girls are happy. My apartment is tagged in a Facebook photo. My mother sees it, comments, and breathes a sigh of relief that she didn’t give birth to a recalcitrant daughter.

This is the quickest and most impressive one-pot meal you’ll make.


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