Heat a 12-in. nonstick frying pan over medium-high heat with 1 tbsp. oil. Rub halibut with 1/4 tsp. salt and 1/4 tsp. pepper. Lightly brown fish in frying pan on one side only, 3 to 4 minutes. Transfer to a plate.
Add remaining oil to frying pan along with fennel and ouzo. Cook, stirring frequently, until light golden and almost tender, about 8 minutes. Add garlic and cook, stirring, until fragrant, 1 minute.
Add tomatoes, 1/2 cup water, chickpeas, remaining salt and pepper, and the oregano and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to maintain a steady simmer. Lay halibut fillets, browned side up, in sauce and simmer until fish is cooked through, 5 to 10 minutes.
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I love a lot of the recipes that appear in Sunset, but this wasn't one of them. I was hoping for some vibrant Greek flavors, and instead got a bland dish overpowered by garbanzo beans. A dish has to be pretty insipid to make garbanzos stand out like that. I think it could be tweaked to make it more interesting, but there are too many other similar but flavorful recipes out there to bother with doing anything more to this one.
I served this at a 4 person dinner party and loved it - not just for taste, but for ease of cooking. With a toddler and infant, finding food I can prep ahead of time or make quickly when we have friends over is my #1 priority. I'm giving it 4 stars because my husband wanted there to be more sauce, so I may add 1/2 can more of crushed tomatoes next time (with an extra pinch of oregano and ouzo to compensate). The fish cooked perfect, and the entire recipe came together super fast. The one skillet use is awesome for clean-up. I served it with rice and broccoli. Will definitely make again.
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