Neighborhood Kitchens

Emilitsa's Halibut in Red Pepper Sauce

Learn to make Emilitsa's Psissa, a Maine halibut, in a Saltsa Piperisas, a puree made from red peppers.


Florina Pepper Sauce
2 pounds red florina or red bell peppers
1 cup extra virgin olive oil
4 pounds Roma tomatoes, skinned, seeded, and finely diced
1 cup dry white wine
10 cloves of garlic finely chopped
1 large bunch flat-leaf or Italian parsley, finely chopped
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes or enough to give the sauce a little heat Salt to taste
Freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup sugar or to taste
tomato paste to thicken
To Prepare:

Preheat the oven to 480°F. Use Florina sweet red peppers from Greece. If you cannot find Florina’s substitute with red bell peppers. Wash and dry the peppers then rub the skins with olive oil. Place peppers on baking sheet, middle shelf in the oven and roast until skins become blistered, blackened, and charred, about 20 min. Take peppers out of oven, let cool a couple minutes then remove the skin, stem, seeds, and the white inner veins and then cut into thin strips.

Heat the olive oil in a large sauce pan and saute´ the tomatoes until softened about 20 minutes. Add the wine and simmer lightly for an additional 5 min. Stir in the garlic and parsley, and season with salt and pepper. Reduce the heat, cover, and simmer the sauce until the tomatoes have cooked down and they take on a smooth consistency. Add the strips of pepper and season with the pepper flakes, salt, ground black pepper, and the sugar. If it needs to be thickened add tomato paste until desired consistency is achieved and simmer another 5 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.

Skorthalia (Potato Garlic Puree)

6 cloves of garlic, minced
1 1/2 lbs. Yukon Gold potatoes 1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup olive oil
1/2 cup vinegar

Boil 1 1/2 pounds of Yukon Gold potatoes in lightly salted water. When tender remove from water and peel skin off. Place garlic, potatoes and salt in robot coupe or blender. Cover and blend at high speed until smooth. Slowly add the olive oil and vinegar alternating each. Blend until you have the consistency of mashed potato. If the sauce is too thick, it may be thinned with a few tablespoons of chilled water. When finished transfer to covered bowl and refrigerate several hours prior to use.


For the fish I like to use Maine or Nova Scotia Halibut. Halibut is low-fat, low-calorie and is a good source of selenium and vitamin D, it has a clean taste and requires little seasoning. Halibut is noted for its dense and firm but flakey texture and when accompanied with the pepper sauce and the garlic skorthalia the flavors of both sides along with the fish are allowed to come through complimenting each other.

4 Halibut Fillets (6-ounce each)
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil kosher salt (to taste)
freshly ground black pepper (to taste)

In an oven-proof medium size saute´ pan, heat the 2 tablespoons of the olive oil. Season both sides of the halibut fillets with the salt and pepper to taste. Place the fillets in the hot saute´ pan. Brown lightly for about 2 minutes on each side, then transfer pan with the fish to the oven and bake until opaque throughout, 5 to 6 minutes or you can test by inserting a needle into the fleshy part of the fish for a few seconds, remove the needle and immediately touch it to your chin. If it feels room temperature to warm, the fish is done. If it is hot, you’ve overcooked the fish. If it is cold, give the fish a few more minutes.

To serve, place a 3 or 4 tablespoon portion of the skorthalia in the center of a large bowl or plate. With tongs, place one portion of fish over the garlic skorthalia at a slight angle leaving some of the skorthalia showing. Skorthalia is served cold. (acts like an american tartar sauce) Next, carefully place a heaping tablespoon of the warm Piperias sauce over the Halibut making sure that each portion of sauce has plenty of pepper slices in it. Finish with a drizzle of unfiltered extra-virgin olive oil and and a small squeeze of fresh lemon. Garnish with fresh pea shoots,SALTSA PIPERIAS copy Kalamata olives and a thin slice of Dodoni feta.

More recipes from chef Demos:
Emilitsa's Melitzanosalata
Emilitsa's Rizogalo

Demos Regas

Demos Regas is the Chef at Emilitsa, a Greek restaurant in Portland, Maine. He shared this recipe with us when he was featured as our guest on Neighborhood Kitchens.


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Building on a 35-year history of producing Latino and multicultural programming, WGBH’s award winning La Plaza team has a new offering — Neighborhood Kitchens, a series about the exploration of culture through food. Every week the show offers a unique window into immigrant communities in New England.

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In each episode, host Margarita Martínez visits a different ethnic restaurant and learns three delicious recipes from the chef. She also explores the restaurant’s neighborhood, discovering hidden gems along the way. Join her as she learns about new ingredients, new cultures, and new neighborhoods. ¡Hasta pronto!

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Margarita's Neighborhood Visits

»Boston: Bristol Lounge
»Boston's South End: Orinoco, Teranga and Oishii
»Boston's Back Bay: Casa Romero
»Boston's North End: Taranta
»Roxbury: Merengue
»Boston's Beacon Hill: Scampo
»All Around Boston: Mei Mei Street Kitchens
»Cambridge: Muqueca, Oleana, and Sandrine's
Somerville: Dosa Temple
»Lawrence: Cafe Azteca
»Lowell: Simply Khmer

»Fresh from the Fish Market
»Jamaica Plain: Tres Gatos
»Dorchester: Pho Le and Cafe Polonia
»Medford: Bistro 5
»Portland, ME: Emilitsa
»Newport, RI: Tallulah on Thames
»Pawtucket, RI: Rasoi


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