Halibut, Fingerling Potatoes & Bay Spiced Citrus Butter

It’s almost 3 weeks since we crept across Sagamore Bridge onto Cape Cod and into another world. The only intermission during the previous two day roadtrip from Chicago was a brief spectacular, soggy and sonorous boat trip in the Niagara Gorge at Niagara Falls.


Once on the Cape its physical disconnect from the mainland, (save for a bridge or two,) breathed life into the idea of totally switching off. Surrounded by woodland, freshwater lakes, wild Atlantic beaches of the outer Cape and calm waters of the inner, shaped a feeling of remoteness sufficient to wash away the grit of city living.

As a group of four adult occasional bon viveurs our minds were, as always, turned to food. On arrival we landed a large Peapod grocery order (not very gourmet) for all of our staple requirements, thereafter shopping at the local farmers’ and fish markets daily to take up our one day in every four dinner challenge.

Balmy evenings commenced with aperatifs and a raw bar, I learned how to shuck oysters and ceviche scallops straight from the sea. From the land came incredible Cape Cod Organic Farm pork ribs, liberally smothered in our Zen Carolina Pulled Pork Blend (with a tbsp of ground coffee) and seared on the grill. The fortnight passed leisurely.

On the long journey home I had a lightbulb moment. To negate the need for a grocery trip on our return, I used the drive time to craft my list and place my order via the Peapod App made all the more simple because I had previous order items to pick from. At 7am the following morning our delivery arrived, just in time for breakfast.

In the twilight of the school summer break and only 48 hours back in Chicago the girls and I, craving yet more fish, headed to the West Loop to fishmongers Isaacson and Stein. The result is a slow cooked Tilapia (or Halibut, Sea Bream) dish in old bay seasoning, adapted from The Best Cookbook Ever by Diane Phillips.

Contary to expectations, the fish remains moist and meaty as it steams sandwiched between layers of buttered and spiced potatoes. So far from the sea, this hit the spot.

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cooking Time:  3 hours on LOW

Servings: 6


  • 2lb fingerling or Yukon Gold potatoes sliced ½ cm thickness
  • 2 tbsp old bay
  • mixed with 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp melted butter
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • zest and juice of 2 lemons / 1/2 cup
  • 2 minced cloves garlic
  • 2 1/2 lb sea bass, halibut or thick tilapia fillets

In a bowl, mix the potatoes, olive oil and old bay. Put half the potatoes into your slow cooker.

In a separate bowl mix the butter, olive oil, zest and juice of lemons and garlic. Paste a little onto your fish. Place the fish onto the potatoes in the slow cooker. 


Add the remaining potatoes and pour the butter and olive oil mixture over the top.

Cover and cook on LOW for 3 hours.


Zen Moment

“We will be more successful in all our endeavors if we can let go of the habit of running all the time, and take little pauses to relax and re-center ourselves. And we’ll also have a lot more joy in living.”

– Thich Nhat Hanh

2 thoughts on “Halibut, Fingerling Potatoes & Bay Spiced Citrus Butter

  1. Sounds delish. I love all of these ingredients but I am curious if the mild flavored Tilapia, had an overwhelming taste of Old Bay after steaming in it for so long in the Slow Cooker? I’m tempted to cook everything separately but love the ease of the slow cooker of course. Thanks for your input! Liz

    • Dear Liz

      You are right about mild Tilapia and I think it’s down to personal taste. I enjoyed it with the punch of the bay seasoning. I find Tilapia a good vehicle for adding flavor but if you prefer to taste it’s mild flavor then I would simply cook it without the seasoning and perhaps add the butter and lemon instead. The recipe will work without the seasoning if you are worried about overpowering the dish. I hope this helps!

      Jane and Meg

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