Pan-Seared Halibut with Soppressata and Fennel

The Chopped Dinner Challenge this week was soppressata. We used the spiciness and saltiness of the cured ham to flavor the broth under a meaty halibut fillet. Chopped Basket Ingredient: soppressata
  • Level: Easy
  • Total: 35 min
  • Prep: 10 min
  • Cook: 25 min
  • Yield: 4 servings
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2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling

4 ounces soppressata, cut in 1/4-inch dice (about 1 cup)

1 fennel bulb, halved, cored and very thinly sliced (about 2 cups), fronds reserved

1 cup grape tomatoes, halved

1/4 cup pickled jalapeno juice

2 tablespoons roughly chopped pickled jalapenos

3 tablespoons unsalted butter

3 tablespoons vegetable oil

Four 6-ounce halibut fillets, skin-off

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Crusty bread, for serving


  1. Heat the olive oil in a large high-sided saute pan over medium-high heat. Add the soppressata and cook until lightly browned around the edges, 3 to 5 minutes. Use a slotted spoon to transfer the soppressata to a paper-towel-lined plate. Add the fennel to the pan and cook until just softened and lightly browned, 4 to 6 minutes. Add the browned soppressata, tomatoes, jalapeno juice, pickled jalapenos and 2 cups water. Cook until the liquid has reduced by almost half and the tomatoes just start to soften, about 5 minutes. Stir in the butter. Turn off the heat and cover with a lid.
  2. Heat 2 tablespoons of the vegetable oil in a large nonstick saute pan over medium-high to high heat. Sprinkle the halibut liberally with salt and pepper. When the oil just starts to smoke, gently place 2 of the fillets in the pan and sear until browned on both sides, about 5 minutes total. Transfer to a large plate. Sear the remaining fillets, using the remaining vegetable oil if needed.
  3. To serve, divide the soppressata mixture and broth evenly among 4 shallow bowls. Top with the halibut, a drizzle of olive oil and garnish with the reserved fennel fronds. Serve with crusty bread if desired.
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