Atlanta's ownChef Christan Willis has been working in the restaurant industry since she was 15 years old. Photo courtesy of Christin Willis

Atlanta native, Chef Christan Willis started her chef career at age 15 working in a fine dining restaurant where her dad owned the valet company in Midtown. She quickly adapted to the fast pace and honed her skills in the hospitality industry that has carried her to many coveted restaurants around the country, including some of the best in Atlanta.

From her unique heritage of Black, Southeast Asian, and Pacific Islander roots, Willis’ passion for food knowledge and creating intriguing recipes deliver bold flavors that represent her culinary point of view with an emphasis on southern cuisine. Her bubbly charisma and bright personality has landed her on many television networks, including appearances on the Today Show, Cooks vs. Cons, Raid the Fridge, Hallmark Home and Family, HLN. 

Most recently Willis has been on Netflix’s newly released show Pressure Cooker, which was recently named one of the best shows to watch on Netflix by The New York Times.

In this week’s Black chef profile Willis is sharing her recipe for halibut With citrus gremolata and brown butter couscous.

Halibut with citrus gremolata and brown butter couscous is a wonderful winter recipe. Photo courtesy of Christan Willis

RECIPE: Halibut with citrus gremolata and brown butter couscous

Yield- 4 Servings 

Prep Time- 10-12 mins

Cook Time- 25 minutes

Prep: 2 tangerines or clementines, cut crosswise into 1/4-inch-thick rounds and seeded

1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons (tbsp) fresh tangerine or clementine juice (from about 6 tangerines or clementines), divided 2 tsp Soy 2 tbsp brown sugar 4 teaspoons kosher salt, divided 1 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley, mint, dill 2 cloves roasted garlic ¼ tsp red chili flakes 

2 tbsp shallots finely chopped

5 1/2 tbsp olive oil, divided Halibut 4 (6-7 oz) filets, skin on, patted dry, skin scored 

Fully cooked pearled couscous 4 tbsp brown butter salt + pepper steps 1, stir together tangerine rounds, 1/2 cup tangerine juice, soy, brown sugar and 1 tbsp salt in a small saucepan 

Bring to a boil over high

Cook: Stirring occasionally, until salt is dissolved. Reduce heat to low; cover and simmer until citrus peels are tender, about 10 minutes. 

Remove from heat, and let cool for 10 minutes remove 5 tangerine rounds from juice, allowing excess juice to drip off; cut rounds into quarters

Set quarters aside and reserve sauce.

Combine parsley, mint, and dill with olive oil. Add shallots, roasted garlic, red pepper flakes, tangerine quarters, 2 tbsp cooked tangerine sauce, 2 tbsp fresh tangerine juice. 

Whisk and set aside. 

In a pan on medium heat add 2 tbsp oil, season both sides of halibut with salt. 

When oil is very hot, add halibut skin side down. Immediately press the halibut gently with a spatula until the skin stays flat in the pan. Sear until skin is browned and crisp, 5 to 7 minutes. 

Flip filets and cook until bottom half of flesh is opaque, about 30 seconds. Repeat until all pieces are done. 

Transfer fish to plate. Combine brown butter, salt + pepper to couscous. Assemble and top with citrus gremolata. Enjoy.

Born and raised in Brooklyn, New York, Donnell began his career covering sports and news in Atlanta nearly two decades ago. Since then he has written for Atlanta Business Chronicle, The Southern Cross...