Basil-Mint Pesto Halibut Sautéed in Rice Paper with Citrus Salad

Preparation info

  • Difficulty


  • Serves


Appears in

Cooking One on One

Cooking One on One

By John Ash

Published 2004

  • About

Edible rice paper is used extensively in Southeast Asian cooking and is a very versatile way to wrap up almost anything. (And it’s much easier to use than the instructions make it appear.) It can be eaten raw (after softening); sautéed, as it is in this recipe; or baked. Look for it in Asian markets and in large supermarkets that serve a Southeast Asian population. If you can’t find rice paper or if the whole idea makes you nervous, just grill the fish or bake it with a little of the pesto spread on top and serve it with the salad. Delicious. You can substitute a variety of fishes: fresh tuna, sea bass, and salmon all work well.


  • 6 halibut fillets, about 4 ounces each, skin removed
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 6 8-inch rice paper rounds
  • Basil-Mint Pesto
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 to 2 cups young, tender, savory greens, such as arugula, cress, mustard, mizuna, or a combination
  • Citrus Salad


Lightly Season the halibut with salt and pepper. Dip a rice paper round completely in tepid water and wet it thoroughly. Transfer the paper to a dry tea towel and then lay a piece of fish on the lower third. Top the halibut with about a tablespoon of Basil-Mint Pesto and spread it out to coat the fish evenly. Fold the sides of the rice paper over the fish and then fold the bottom edge up and the top part down (like closing an envelope) to enclose completely. Repeat with the remaining fillets.

In a nonstick sauté pan heat the olive oil over medium heat. When the oil is hot and shimmering, add the fish packets. Sauté, turning once, until the rice paper is golden brown on both sides and the halibut is opaque, 4 to 5 minutes total. Drain the packets on paper towels. (If you can’t fit them all at once, you can sauté in batches, keeping the cooked packets warm in a low oven.)

Combine the greens with the Citrus Salad and arrange on serving plates. Top with the sautéed halibut packet. Garnish with mint sprigs and sprinkle with basil oil, if desired. Serve immediately.


If you like with fresh mint sprigs and basil oil (available in gourmet stores)