Facebook LinkedIn Email Pinterest Twitter Instagram YouTube Icon Navigation Search Icon Main Search Icon Video Play Icon Plus Icon Minus Icon Check Icon Print Icon Note Icon Heart Icon Filled Heart Icon Single Arrow Icon Double Arrow Icon Hamburger Icon TV Icon Close Icon Sorted Hamburger/Search Icon
Ingredient

Halibut

Save to Recipe Box
Print
Add Private Note
Saved Add to List

    Add to List

Print
Add Recipe Note

What is it?

Halibut, a large member of the flatfish family, thrives in both the Atlantic and Pacific oceans. The average hailbut weighs in somewhere between 30 and 50 pounds, but they can get up to almost 500. Smaller fish, weighing between 2 and 10 pounds, are called chicken halibut and are considered the finest.

Firm, white, and mild flavored, halibut is well-suited for just about every cooking method. Its subtle flavor should not be overpowered by aggressive sauces or marinades. Halibut pairs well with tarragon and chives, potatoes, and juicy greens like spinach and Swiss chard.

Halibut is available year-round but it’s abundant from March through September. Pacific halibut, unlike Atlantic halibut, comes from well-managed fisheries that have not suffered the steep population decline affecting Atlantic halibut. Also, Pacific ocean temperatures are colder year-round, so the halibut isn’t prey to the warm-water-loving parasites that make Atlantic halibut an iffy proposition in all but the coldest months.

Don’t have it?

You can substitute another firm white fish like sea bass, snapper, or monkfish.

How to choose:

When buying fish fillets, examine the flesh, which should be moist and glistening and without any large gaps.

Dry-looking flesh is a sign of age. Fresh fish should not smell strong or fishy but should have a mild, fresh scent suggestive of the sea.

How to prep:

Halibut takes well to almost any preparation; we especially like to grill, roast, and sauté it. But with its delicate flavor and texture, halibut gives its best performance when just barely cooked through. Overcook it, and it’ll be very dry.

How to store:

Like all fish, halibut should be stored in the coldest part of your refrigerator and used soon after buying. To slow down spoilage, try this: Put whole fish or fillets in a large strainer set over a bowl. Pile ice high on top of the fish and refrigerate. The ice keeps the fish close to 32°F, and as it melts, the water continually rinses off bacteria and drains it into the bowl. Or put the haddock in a plastic bag and set the bag on ice to maintain a temperature close to 33°F (spoilage occurs twice as fast at 40°F as it does at 32°).

    Recipes

  • Halibut with Tomatillo Salsa
    Recipe

    Grilled Pacific Halibut with Grilled Tomatillo-Poblano Salsa

    Since you’re already firing up the grill, have a little fun and take advantage of that fire by first grilling a pepper, some tomatillos, and a thick slice of onion…

  • Moveable Feast

    Pan-Seared Halibut with Cucumber and Radish Slaw

    If you can’t find halibut, you can substitute any firm white fish such as cod, haddock, or sea bass.

  • Moveable Feast

    Tutka Bay Fisherman's Stew

    Halibut and four kinds of shellfish star in this stew served at Kirsten Dixon's Tutka Bay Lodge. Chorizo and saffron give it a bit of Spanish influence.

  • Moveable Feast

    Halibut and Avocado Tartare on Nori Chips

    Nori breaks out of the traditional sushi role in a crisp fried version that blends its unique sea flavors with the ultra-fresh halibut and smooth avocado.

  • Recipe

    Poached Halibut with Sun-Dried Tomatoes, Pesto, and Zucchini

    A sun-dried tomato and lemongrass broth makes a fragrant seasoning for the halibut, and a garlicky basil pesto and sautéed zucchini round out the dish.

  • Recipe

    Pan-Seared Halibut with Salmoriglio

    Salmoriglio, a garlicky southern Italian herb and lemon sauce, is a great match for seared or grilled fish. Any leftover sauce will keep for a couple of days in the…

  • Recipe

    Jerked Cedar-Plank Halibut

    Jerk seasoning, a traditional Caribbean spice rub made with allspice berries, Scotch bonnet chiles, and a host of other herbs and spices, gets a Northwest twist in a Canadian chef’s…

  • Recipe

    Almond-Crusted Halibut

    The crunchy earthiness of the halibut’s nut-coating is balanced by a crisp green salad and a drizzle of tangy lemon-tarragon vinaigrette. Since fish cooks so quickly, this dish is speedy…

  • Recipe

    Lemony Halibut en Papillotes with Leek Rice Pilaf

    This recipe comes with a built-in side dish: fragrant rice pilaf enriched with sautéed leeks. Don’t worry if the edges of the rice seem crunchy when you open the packets;…

  • Recipe

    Classic Bouillabaisse

    This hearty fish stew is a treasure from the South of France. It takes an afternoon to make, but it's a showstopping all-in-one meal that's absolutely worth the effort.

Comments

Leave a Comment

Comments

Leave A Comment

Your email address will not be published.

Delicious Dish

Find the inspiration you crave for your love of cooking

Fine Cooking Magazine

Subscribe today
and save up to 44%

Already a subscriber? Log in.

Videos

View All

Connect

Follow Fine Cooking on your favorite social networks