Mero con Especies y Salsa de Toronja (Spiced Halibut with Grapefruit Salsa)

Recipe and photos contributed to Hispanic Kitchen by Carolyn Swaney

Summertime barbecues are the greatest.  They bring family and friends together, allow us to revel in the great weather, dine outdoors, and to blend special flavors that break out of the ordinary.  Wow your friends at your next barbecue when you skip the burgers and dish up some elegant (but REALLY) easy Spiced Halibut with Grapefruit Salsa. The flavors are unexpected and surprising, but bring the heat, just like our weather does.  Serve it with a mellow side dish of vegetables to cut the heat, and round out a healthy and delicious meal. The halibut gets a rub down from a dry rub, which starts with adobo as it’s base, and is kicked into high gear with some ancho. The tang of the grapefruit pairs nicely, though a sweet mango salsa or tomato based pico de gallo would be great as well.

Mero, or halibut, seemed to be the fish of choice when I was traveling through San Juan about a year ago, and every time I eat it, I think of an abundance of ways to make this meaty filet even more exciting. This one certainly does that. Even better on the side? Some fried plantains would be great… I’ll have to add those to the plate next time!


Mero con Especies y Salsa de Toronja

Yields 4 servings

For the Fish:

1/2 tsp each cumin, ancho chile powder, onion powder, garlic powder, and salt
1/4 tsp cracked black pepper
4 filets halibut

For the Salsa:

2 grapefruits
1 orange
1 serrano chile
1/4 red onion
1 handful cilantro
salt to taste



1.  Make the rub by combining all dry spices in a small bowl. Drizzle olive oil on filets, then add the dry rub. Set aside. Preheat the grill to medium high heat.

2.  Cut grapefruit and orange into sections, removing the peel and pith.

3. Remove the end from the serrano, cut in half and place the pepper in a food processor.  Pulse to chop into fine bits. Alternatively, chop the pepper, wearing gloves, or coat your hand in olive oil before handling the pepper.

4. Finely chop the red onion and cilantro, and combine all ingredients, stirring gently. Add salt to taste and set aside to let the flavors marry.

5. Grill the filets 4 minutes on each side or until desired doneness, depending on thickness.  Plate the fish and top with a spoonful of the salsa.



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