As much as I love to entertain, I sometimes find the initial moments after inviting our guests overwhelming.  Too many ideas swirling around, it is so hard to narrow them down to the few that will make up a meal.  Last week I shared a recipe for fresh tomatillo salsa, and mentioned the Rick Bayless inspired meal we served.  Many of you asked what else I served that evening.  Here it is!

Since blood oranges are only in season for a brief time, I wanted to make good use of them.  We enjoyed a pitcher of blood orange margaritas throughout the evening, and this was our main course – a pan seared white fish seasoned with a cilantro jalapeño compound butter and finished off with blood orange salsa. We have tried it with both sea bass and halibut and both were excellent.  Over a bed of cilantro lime rice, this meal instantly became a new favorite of ours – so much so that we have had it twice in two weeks. If you are a fellow blood orange junkie and looking for more ways to use them, this may become a new favorite of yours too.


For the salsa: 

  • 2 blood oranges, peeled and diced
  • ¼ cup finely chopped red onion
  • ¼ cup chopped cilantro
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 tbsp. olive oil

For the fish: 

  • 4 tbsp. unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 small jalapeño, seeded and diced
  • 2-3 tbsp. minced cilantro
  • Salt and pepper
  • 4 (6-8 oz.) white fish fillets, such as halibut or sea bass
  • Olive oil


  • 01

    To make the salsa, reserve a few tablespoons of the blood oranges.  In a small bowl, combine the remaining blood oranges, onion, and cilantro.  Squeeze the juice from the reserved pieces of orange into the bowl.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.  Add in the olive oil.  Toss well to combine, taste, and adjust seasoning as necessary.

  • 02

    Preheat the oven to 425˚ F.  In a small bowl, combine the butter, jalapeño, cilantro, salt and pepper.  Stir  well with a spoon until evenly combined.  Pat the top of the fish dry and spread each portion with a thin layer of the butter.  Coat the bottom of a large skillet with olive oil and place over medium-high heat. Add the fish to the pan, skin side down, and cook 3-4 minutes.  Transfer the pan to the oven and let cook until the internal temperature reaches 145˚ F, about 8-12 minutes.

  • 03

    Remove the fish to a serving dish, separating from the skin as you do so.  Let rest a few minutes, then top with the blood orange salsa and serve immediately.

  • Jackie

    YUM! Can’t wait to make this…it’s going on my meal plan for next week :)

  • This is so gorgeous, Annie! Love it!

  • karelaorange

    My daughter refuses to eat anything spicy… how would this be without the jalapeno? Or is it pretty mild if you just eat around the jalapeno?

  • Mindy Pannell

    Love that this is tasty and healthy!

  • ilonaskitchen

    Do you think this would be good with salmon or tilapia?

  • Blood oranges are actually on SALE here right now (this never happens) and I have like five trillion sitting on my counter. Prime salsa candidates.

  • Angela

    After my amazing meal at Topolobampo on Friday, this recipe took me back to that night so I had to make it right away. WOW! It really is an excellent recipe. I can see why you have had it twice in two weeks. My husband finished his and asked if I was making it again tomorrow! :-)

  • Cheryl Duss

    Sounds delicious, Annie. I noticed that you use cilantro in a few of your recipes. Do you grow cilantro in your garden too?

  • annieseats

    I have tried many times but cilantro is the only herb I have a hard time with. It usually goes to seed so fast that I just don’t even bother anymore.

  • annieseats

    YAY! That totally makes my day :)

  • annieseats

    I’m not sure I would love this with salmon, but tilapia would be a fine option.

  • annieseats

    We don’t find it spicy at all. My kids ate it both times and never mentioned the “S” word :)

  • Angela

    I agree with Annie, there was not a bit of spice to it. It really is fantastic and a must try.

  • Jen Emerich

    There are times I just know Annie won’t steer me wrong. I went on your site yesterday looking for a good dinner option and you had just posted this. I made it for dinner with the blood oranges from my CSA that I have been staring at. You guys, this was so good. I don’t even like halibut, but this is something I will eat over and over again and my husband was very impressed! I added avocados as well since it was next to the oranges and the salsa just begged for it.

  • Tanis Williams

    Hi Annie. Didn’t have halibut so I used fresh sockeye salmon with this recipe. Made it for 2, so cut the butter down to 2 Tbsp. Over all, fabulous!
    Wonderful fresh flavour. Would definitely do for company! Delish!

  • annieseats

    So glad you enjoyed it!

  • annieseats

    Wonderful! So glad to hear it :)

  • Julie

    I made this 2 nights ago for my family and it was fabulous! Halibut is really expensive where I live, but I decided to splurge and boy was it worth it! And what a nice change from frozen Tilapia! My kids, ages 8 and 10, both loved it as did my husband. I served it with cilantro lime cauliflower “rice” and a small salad. Definitely company worthy yet easy and quick enough for a regular, school-night Thursday dinner.

  • Elizabeth

    Made this for dinner tonight; made the rice and fish by the recipe, but subbed in pineapple for the blood oranges in the salsa because I had some to use up. Absolutely delicious, and so easy! The fish was perfect, the rice was perfect, and the salsa was a bright compliment to it all. Thanks for a great dinner!

  • annieseats

    So glad to hear it!

  • Margaret Lamson

    Soooo good! Just tried this recipe with halibut from our Sitka seafood share…husband, kids and I absolutely loved the fresh flavors. I made the salsa with navels since the market didn’t have blood oranges–still delicious. Your cilantro rice was the perfect accompaniment. Thanks!

  • Sally

    A winning recipe! We thought we would try this with grouper from Caplinger’s in Indy, and what a hit! I had never had a blood orange until I saw your blood orange cake and tried that! We loved the dish and will try it again.