Moroccan Butter-Poached Halibut with Couscous


This recipe for Moroccan Butter-Poached Halibut with couscous is from episode 7 of Fish the Dish starring Spencer Watts.

Serves: 4


  • Four 4-5 oz Pieces of halibut
  • Salt to taste
  • Oil for searing
  • Lime juice to taste

Moroccan Butter:

  • 1 Tbsp (15ml) Canola oil
  • ½ a medium onion, chopped
  • 2 Garlic cloves, coarsely chopped
  • 1 Tbsp (30 ml) Sweet paprika
  • 2 tsp (10ml) cumin seeds or ground cumin
  • Pinch of Cayenne
  • Salt to taste
  • ½ cup (120 ml) White wine
  • Juice of ½ a Lime
  • 1 lb (454 g) of butter, cubed and cold


  • 2 cups (500 ml) Couscous
  • 2 ½ cups (625 ml) Boiling water
  • 2 Tbsp Olives chopped
  • ¼ cup (60ml) Dried black currants
  • 2 Tbsp (30 ml) Cilantro, chopped
  • 3 Tbsp (45 ml) Parsley, chopped
  • 2 Tbsp (30g) Butter
  • 1/8 tsp Salt
  • Lime juice
  • Boiling water to cover


  1. Preheat the oven to 300°F/150°C
  2. Pour dry couscous into a baking dish.  Evenly distribute olives and currants over top and cover with boiling water.  Cover the dish with plastic wrap to trap in the heat.  Allow to rest for 10 minutes.
  3. Prepare your butter poaching liquid. Heat oil in an oven proof pan or pot.  Add onions and garlic and sauté until softened. Add sweet paprika, cumin, cayenne, and a dash of salt and cook for 1 minute. Pour in wine and let reduce for 2 minutes.  Squeeze in fresh lime juice and add all of the butter. Allow to melt over gentle heat for approximately 3 minutes, or until butter is fully incorporated. Keep the liquid to just below a simmer. It should not boil.
  4. Season halibut with salt and sear in a hot oiled pan. Cook for 2 minutes or until a crust develops on one side. Flip and transfer fish to the pan of Moroccan butter cooked side up. Spoon the butter over the fish several time to incorporate the flavours.   Place the fish in the butter into the oven and cook for 3-6 minutes until fish is cooked.
  5. Remove plastic wrap from couscous and fluff with a fork. Add cilantro, parsley, butter, salt, and lime juice. Stir to combine.
  6. Remove the cooked fish from the butter and plate with the warm couscous with a drizzle of the poaching butter overtop and a fresh spritz of lime juice.  Note – you can keep the poaching liquid in the fridge to use for another recipe later.