Fried Halibut Cheek Couscous

Beer Battered Halibut Cheeks with Capers & Herbed Couscous

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Fried Halibut Cheeks with Herbed Couscous

Makes 4 Servings
A lemony Pinot Gris

Fluffy, tender halibut cheeks fried in a very light batter & served over green herbed Israeli couscous colored & flavored with a parsley “pesto.”

A lot of light batter recipes rely on the use of carbonated beverages to help make them extra light. Of course, this means you have to use the batter immediately after making it. This recipe uses a different method: loading the batter into a cream whipper, which allows you to make the batter 30 minutes before you plan on using it.

If you don’t have a cream whipper handy, you could substitute a more traditional beer batter or tempura batter recipe.

Halibut Cheek Herb Couscous
  • 8 Halibut Cheeks
  • 1 tsp Meyer Lemon Zest (could substitute plain lemon)
  • 1 tbsp Brined Capers, rinsed
  • Italian Parsley for Garnish
  • Lemon Juice
  • Rice Flour
  • 1 gallon Oil for frying (peanut, canola, etc)
  • Batter:
  • 1 cup All Purpose Flour
  • 1 cup Rice Flour
  • 1 tsp Baking Powder
  • 1 tbsp Honey
  • 10 oz Vodka (we used Smirnoff)
  • 10 oz Beer (we used Dos Equis)
  • 3 N2O Chargers
  • Parsley Sauce:
  • 1 cup fresh Italian Parsley Leaves
  • 1 clove Garlic, peeled
  • Zest & Juice of 1 Lemon
  • 1/3rd – 1/2 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 2 tbsp Chicken Stock
  • Special Equipment:
  • Cream Whipper



Make the Couscous: Bring the stock, salt, and bay leaf to a simmer on the stove in a small saucepan.

Stir in the couscous. Simmer 8-10 minutes. Strain any residual stock out of the couscous & toss with extra virgin olive oil to coat.

Spread the couscous out on a pan or in a wide container to cool.


Make the Parsley Sauce: In a blender combine the parsley leaves, garlic clove, lemon zest & juice. Blend briefly to chop, then drizzle in the olive oil while continuing to blend. Add just enough oil until there’s enough liquid for the blender to start blending the parsley.

Stop the blender, scrape down the sides, and add the chicken stock. Blend to puree. Add additional salt & pepper to taste.


Add five tablespoons of the parsley sauce to the cooled couscous & stir to combine. Refrigerate the couscous & reserve the remainder of the parsley sauce for other recipes.

Make the batter – Combine the flour, rice flour and baking powder in a bowl. In a separate bowl mix together the honey and vodka.

Whisk together the flour mixture and the vodka mixture. Stir in the beer until combined, then immediately load the batter into a cream whipper & charge with all three chargers.

Refrigerate for 30 minutes.


Heat the frying oil in a large stock pot to 400 degrees. Dust the halibut cheeks with rice flour & remove the batter-filled whipper from the fridge.

Put some of the parsley couscous on each plate.

Shake the whipper, hold it with the nozzle pointing straight down & spray the batter into a deep container. Dip a few of the halibut cheeks in the batter and then place them in the oil (being careful not to splash or crowd the pan).

As the cheeks begin to form a crust, lift them above the surface of the oil and spoon extra batter onto them (this adds volume to their crust), then lower them back into the oil to finish frying.

Once the cheeks are golden brown, drain them on a towel and plate them atop the couscous. Top the cheeks with the capers, parsley leaves, and a small drizzle of lemon juice. Serve.

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