Halibut with Pistachio Pesto

Halibut with Pistachio Pesto

This Pistachio Pesto recipe is really something special with it’s vivid springtime color and bright herbal and citrus notes. Pistachios are often more accessible and affordable for homemade pesto than pine nuts, and I’m thrilled to discover that they make an equally delicious alternative.

Halibut season just began up here in Alaska and it seemed like the perfect protein to go along with this pesto.  But, you can use it on anything from sandwiches to pasta to salads. I have a good amount leftover and I’m looking forward to seeing what else I can come up with.

Grilled Halibut with Pistachio Pesto


Pesto recipe adapted from Food.com

  • For the Pesto:
  • 1c pistachios, shelled
  • 1c fresh basil
  • 1/4c cilantro
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • 3T grated parmesan cheese
  • 1/4-1/2c olive oil
  • salt to taste
  • For Halibut:
  • halibut steaks
  • olive oil
  • salt and pepper
  • lemon wedges

!For Pesto:

Add all the ingredients to a food processor or blender, using just 1/4c olive oil to start. Whirl to blend and drizzle more olive oil as necessary until desired consistency is achieved. Serve or store in refrigerator in an airtight container or jar until ready to serve.

!For Halibut:

Pat halibut steaks dry, rub with olive oil, and season both sides of each steak with salt and pepper.

Grill on one side, about 5 minutes, then flip. Cook until there is nice color on the steaks and the fish is just about cooked through (opaque), being careful not to overcook and dry out. The fish should flake easily with a fork. The time it takes for your halibut to cook will depend on the thickness of your steaks and the temperature of your grill.

Top with Pistachio Pesto and serve over mashed potatoes with lemon wedges.


With the pistachios does it have a distinctly different taste than when it's made with pine nuts?

Alaska from Scratch
Alaska from Scratch

It's difficult to say because the pine nut pesto I've made in the past also didn't include cilantro and lemon, so it's different in several [fun] ways. But the basil, garlic, parmesan and olive oil are still prominent, as with most traditional pesto, so in that sense I would say they're not distinctly different. Pine nuts are softer than pistachios, so there is a slight textural difference. Hope this helps.


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