Halibut For The Hell Of It

A Great Fish Selection

Fresh Halibut

     If you’re looking for a white fish that won’t fall apart in the skillet, and one that also tastes great, try halibut. The meat is low-fat, has a nice clean taste, and it requires little seasoning. It’s oftentimes hard to find, and it’s always pricey when its compared to other fish. Halibut is my favorite. We think of it as a rare treat, but it’s oh, so worth it.

     When purchasing the filets, I ask for larger pieces cut from the center of the fish. And I always ask for the pieces to be the same size. They will cook more uniformly if this is done. Usually the skin is still intact (and some cook it this way), but I like to remove it with a filet knife. Several sources recommend not removing the skin and cooking it sous vide. Knife skills are not needed if cooking with this method. Once cooked the skin can be lifted off before searing.

Relatively Easy Meal To Prepare

Really Fresh Halibut

      The method I use to cook the fish is a simple one, It also doesn’t require a lot of time in the kitchen. I like to pan sear the individual filets in a butter and oil mixture. As if cooks it will separate into large, meaty flakes, so it has to be turned gingerly.  When finished I transfer them to a warm oven, and then I prepare a lemon/butter/chardonnay pan sauce. The halibut can also be roasted whole, but it seems I have more cooking control over the smaller portions. It is an impressive dish when a whole roasted halibut is presented to your guests at the table.

     I usually serve it with buttered noodles and a side of peas, and I pair it with a creamy Chardonnay. Dorothy and I love this meal. It’s just the best.



Pan Roasted Halibut

yields: 2 Servings prep time: 20 Minutes cook time: 20 Minutes
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2 Tbsp 4 Tbsp 2 Fillets To taste To taste 2 Tbsp 2 cloves 2 Tbsp 4 Oz. 4 Tbsp To taste Garnish
Butter EVOO Halibut about 1" thick Sugar Salt and Pepper EVOO Garlic diced Lemon juice fresh White wine Butter cold cut in pieces Salt and Pepper Italian parsley
  • 2 Tbsp
  • 4 Tbsp
  • 2 Fillets
    Halibut about 1" thick
  • To taste
  • To taste
    Salt and Pepper
  • 2 Tbsp
  • 2 cloves
    Garlic diced
  • 2 Tbsp
    Lemon juice fresh
  • 4 Oz.
    White wine
  • 4 Tbsp
    Butter cold cut in pieces
  • To taste
    Salt and Pepper
  • Garnish
    Italian parsley


Prepare all of your ingredients mise en place so they are readily available.

Remove the skin from the halibut. If you don’t own one, invest in a filleting knife. It will set you back at least $50, but it’s worth it and you will be surprised how often you will use it. Most come with a holster which is useful if your are taking it on your fishing trip, or you’re heading in to the inner city and you want to use it as a shiv for protection.

Have a plate warming in the oven.

Time: 40 Minutes

  1. Over one side of fish sprinkle sugar.

  2. Add the butter and EVOO to skillet (or sauté pan) and heat over med-high heat.

  3. Place fillets in skillet, sugar side down, and press for even contact. Salt and pepper to taste on top side of fillet. Cook about 4 minutes a side. Using two spatulas, flip fillets and cook 4 minutes on the other side.

  4. Transfer fillets to warm plate in oven and begin the pan sauce.

  5. Remove the overcooked fish residue from the skillet. Add EVOO and cook garlic over medium heat until browned.

  6. Add lemon juice and wine to deglaze the pan. Simmer several minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste.

  7. Remove skillet from heat and whisk in the cold butter until sauce is smooth and emulsified. Ladle over filets and garnish with parsley.

I like to serve this with a buttered flat noodle and a side of peas. I pair it with a nice Chardonnay. It’s easy-peasy.

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