halibut cookery

I usually season my halibut with salt and pepper and sear it in a hot pan. It’s impossible to give precise direction (like how many minutes per side) without knowing your pan, your stove or the thickness of your piece of halibut, so here are some general guidelines.

When searing halibut, let the fish cook in the hot pan undisturbed (if you move it too much it wont develop a good crust/color) until it’s golden brown on the seared side. At that point, flip it over and lower the heat until it’s cooked to medium rare. Halibut is medium rare when the flakes separate almost entirely, but not quite… at the center it will still be silky and not yet totally opaque. I test a piece by bending it slightly to see how it separates. If you remove it from the heat just before it completely separates, it will finish cooking off the heat just perfectly. If you cook it too far, it will be dry. 

Halibut can also be grilled over high heat (much like searing it), poached in a seasoned oil (sort of like confit), or steamed (en papillote) using a fig leaf (pick a leaf off a tree, blanche it briefly in boiling water then put your seasoned halibut inside along with herbs and lemon.)

Because halibut is so lean and meaty, I like it with a rich sauce like an aioli and/or tapenade (and to that combination I often add tomatoes when they are at their juiciest.)