Put all of the tapenade ingredients into the work bowl of a food processor. Pulse until smooth. Scrape the tapenade into a bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate. The tapenade may be made up to 3 days in advance.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
Pat the halibut fillets dry with paper towels. Season the halibut steaks generously with salt and pepper. Heat the canola oil over medium-high heat in a large oven-proof frying pan (no plastic handles!) until hot but not smoking. Slip the halibut pieces skin side down into the pan and cook until the bottom side has is golden and the edges of the fish start to look opaque, about 3 minutes. Flip the steaks over and place in the oven for 2 to 3 minutes or until the steaks are just opaque in the center.
While the fish is cooking, warm the red peppers in a skillet over low heat.
To serve, place a small mound of red peppers on each plate and place the halibut on the mound. Using 2 teaspoons, form a quenelle (egg-shape) of tapenade and set atop the steak.
The tapenade used to top the fillets keeps for a good long time in the refrigerator. You can use it to top just about any fish or chicken off the grill, stir it into salad dressings or as a sandwich spread.
Roasting and peeling fresh bell peppers is a nice touch for this dish. If you don't have the time, bottled roasted peppers are fine. Just be sure the label says "roasted" or "fire roasted" to be sure you're getting the real deal.
Recipe courtesy of Daisy Martinez, 2008