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Fried Halibut Cheeks with a Chickpea Flour Crust

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Fried halibut cheeks dredged in chickpea flour

Fried halibut cheeks dredged in chickpea flour

Holly A. Heyser
Fried halibut cheeks are a delicacy on the West Coast, much the same way fried cod cheeks are in the East. This recipe is unusual in that I use chickpea flour for the crust, which adds a warm, rich note to the cheeks, which taste a little like scallops. Look for halibut cheeks in well-stocked fish markets -- you can use regular fish fillets, too. You can find chickpea flour in either Indian or Italian markets: It's called gram flour in Indian markets, and ceci flour in Italian. This recipe serves 2 as an appetizer.

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 5 minutes

Total Time: 10 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 8-10 halibut or cod cheeks, about 1/2 lb
  • 1/2 cup chickpea flour
  • 3 T. olive oil
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Preparation:

Set a frying pan over high heat for 1 minute, then turn the heat down to medium-high and add the olive oil.

Salt the halibut cheeks well, then dust them in the chickpea flour.

Shake off the excess flour, then place the halibut cheeks in the hot oil so they are not touching. Fry until golden, about 2 minutes per side.

Serve at once with some ground black pepper. This doesn't need a dipping sauce, but you could squeeze lemon over the cheeks or dip them in aioli or remoulade sauce. A cold, austere white wine goes well with this dish, such as a Chenin Blanc, a Greek Assyrtiko or a Pinot Grigio.

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