Basque Grilled Fish


This recipe for grilled halibut was inspired by a meal Top Chef judge and F&W Special Projects Editor Gail Simmons ate on the Bay of Biscay in Spain. “I had lunch at a fabled fish restaurant called Elkano, just a 30-minute drive from San Sebastián, in the tiny hamlet of Getaria,” she says. The dish, freshly caught turbot, seasoned with salt and olive oil and grilled to perfection on the restaurant’s outdoor grills, inspired this version. The simple preparation lets the flavor of fish shine—if it’s really fresh, it won’t need so much as a slice of lemon to enhance it. Use a grilling basket to prevent flaky fish from falling apart during cooking. Serve it with Txakoli, a lightly effervescent wine with bright minerality. (Top brands to look for in the U.S. include Ameztoi, Luzia de Ripa, Itsasmendi, and Txomin Etxaniz)

Basque Grill Fish
Photo: Justin Walker
Active Time:
30 mins
Total Time:
45 mins


  • 1/4 cup Champagne vinegar

  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

  • 1 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, divided, plus more for serving

  • 4 (7- to 8-ounce) skinless halibut fillets (about 1 inch thick)

  • Cooking spray

  • Flaky sea salt

  • 4 cups baby arugula

  • Freshly ground black pepper


  1. Whisk together vinegar, oil, and 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt in a medium bowl. Place 2 tablespoons vinaigrette in a separate small bowl; set aside for serving. Transfer remaining vinaigrette to a squeeze bottle for basting, or leave in medium bowl if basting with a brush.

  2. Season fillets with remaining 1 teaspoon kosher salt. Drizzle or brush with 2 tablespoons of the basting vinaigrette. Refrigerate fillets at least 15 minutes and up to 30 minutes.

  3. Preheat grill to medium-high (400°F to 450°F). Place fish in a single layer in a metal grilling basket coated with cooking spray. Place basket on grill grate; grill, reducing heat if needed to maintain temperature of 400°F to 425°F, 6 minutes. Carefully flip basket; drizzle or brush fish directly through basket grates with 1 tablespoon basting vinaigrette. Grill until fish flakes easily when tested with a fork but doesn’t take on much color, 5 to 6 minutes. Remove basket from grill; drizzle or brush fillets with 1 tablespoon basting vinaigrette, and sprinkle with flaky sea salt. Transfer fish to a platter.

  4. Toss together arugula and reserved 2 tablespoons vinaigrette in a large bowl. Season lightly with kosher salt and pepper. Place 1 cup dressed arugula on each of 4 plates; top each with 1 warm fish fillet.

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