Food You Can Eat: Celebrity Sunday Matinee: Drew Barrymore’s Halibut Milanese For 2

Thank you, Drew Barrymore's PR person/studio intern!

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In the pantheon of Hollywood royalty perhaps no one has a finer pedigree than Drew Barrymore. She is the granddaughter of John Barrymore, considered one of the best actors of his generation, the daughter of John Barrymore, a slightly less-acclaimed actor, and a grand-niece of siblings Ethel and Lionel Barrymore. Her godmothers are Sophia Loren and Anna Strasberg (widow of Lee) and her godfather is Steven Spielberg. At the age of seven she appeared as Gertie in “ET: The Extraterrestrial” and the die was cast. On a darker note she first went to rehab at 13, which is remarkable in its own way, went back in at 14 followed by a three-month stay with David Crosby (as one does) and self-emancipated at 15, living in an apartment just one block north of where a friend of mine moved. Between stints in rehab she made a slew of movies, including a few with Adam Sandler, and I don’t care what you think I loved “The Wedding Singer.” She was also in “Grey Gardens,” and since I have seen the original Mayles’s documentary a few times and saw it on and off-Broadway that makes me love Drew more. Nude photos in “Interview” magazine when she was a teenager, three marriages (including a brief one to Tom Green), and now a talk show, Drew can and has done it all. What gives her the energy? Maybe it’s her Halibut Milanese.

What makes this “Milanese” is that the halibut is flattened and dredged in egg and breadcrumbs and then skillet-fried. Drew, though, kicks it up a notch by topping it with a simple salad, rather than serving a salad on the side.

As far as I can tell this recipe first appeared in People magazine in the summer of 2016. I’ve pretty much reprinted it here verbatim (with a little commentary) because it is really good and a one-plate meal unto itself.

1 box (8 oz. container) cherry tomatoes, halved. [Why isn’t Drew/one of her assistants buying cherry tomatoes loose at the nearest famers market? In any event, yes, 8 oz.]

½ red onion, thinly sliced [get a large one.]

1 bunch arugula [Mattie measurement™: 2 fistfuls of leaves.]

¼ cup plus 1 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil

2 tbsp. balsamic vinegar

½ tsp. salt

¼ tsp. freshly ground black pepper

2 (4-6 oz.) halibut steak fillets [go for 6 oz.]

2 eggs, lightly beaten

1 cup panko bread crumbs

2 tbsp. butter


1. In a medium bowl, toss the tomatoes, onions and arugula leaves. Set aside.

2. In a small bowl, whisk together ¼ cup olive oil, balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper. Set aside.

3. Place a halibut fillet between two sheets of plastic wrap. Using a meat mallet or rolling pin, gently pound to ½-in. thickness. Repeat with second fillet. [The gently is extremely important. The fish is easily broken up and will make a flaky, gluey mess. Have the fillets chilled but not frozen for best results.]

4. Remove fillets from the plastic wrap. Dip each piece in the beaten egg wash, then coat with the bread crumbs. [Again, very gently, and by hand. In this case, don’t try to shake or brush off any excess breadcrumbs, because with the halibut you have to treat it as if you were disarming a nuclear explosive.]

5. In a large skillet or frying pan, melt the butter and 1 tbsp. olive oil. When the pan is hot, add the fillets and cook for 2 to 3 minutes on each side. Remove from heat. [To turn the fillets, use your biggest, widest spatula and then another one, or a large spoon. Lift with the spatula on the bottom and press the other implement on top and flip. I can usually do this with these comically large tongs that I have, but the halibut didn’t seem like they were going to cooperate, nasty buggers.]

6. Place one fillet on each plate, and top with a generous helping of salad. Mix the reserved balsamic dressing before pouring, and drizzle on top. Serve immediately.



  1. I love halibut, it has been so expensive lately though.  You may want to note how important it is to not overcook it though.  Nothing worst than a dry piece of $20 fish!

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