This Pan-Seared Halibut with Kentucky Bourbon is Date Night at its best! It features delicious, meaty halibut drizzled with a quick bourbon sauce, served over a bed of wilted spinach.
About a month ago, as the hot and muggy late summer days began to slowly cool off, and the leaves were just beginning to shyly show hints of faint red and yellow, the husband and I took an end-of-summer drive to Bourbon Country.
We had lunch at my favorite Korean restaurant in Lexington, and then meandered over to the Wild Turkey distillery. As we waited for our tour, I flipped through a few of their gift shop cookbooks, and smiled at all the ways there are to cook with bourbon.
One of my favorite things to do with bourbon is to add it to a hot honey sauce, and then pour it all over fish. Why is it a favorite? For starters, it’s both fast and easy.
That would be a WIN and a WIN.
Also, it feels so incredibly fancy! This Pan-Seared Halibut with Kentucky Bourbon is perfect for Date Night, and comes together in minutes.
Cooking with Halibut
Halibut is, quite possibly, the most luxurious white fish, with thick, meaty fillets that are perfect for luscious sauces. If you’ve never cooked with halibut, here’s what to expect.
Halibut fillets are white and firm, and have a light, sweet flavor. Halibut is delicious and flaky, but it has a tendency to dry out if you overcook it. To help keep it moist, make sure to add a little fat to the pan (I use butter), and keep an eye on the cooking time.
How to Pan-Sear Halibut
To pan-sear halibut, you’re going to dry off the fish, and put it in a hot pan with butter and oil. Set the fillets in the pan, and don’t touch for about four minutes. Flip, and cook four more minutes.
Need more help? Check out this tutorial on How to Pan-Sear Fish.
Serve these meaty fillets of white fish with the bourbon sauce and a few handfuls of wilted spinach. Enjoy this bourbon-licious fish dinner right away, and then start planning a trip to Bourbon Country!
Want more BOURBON recipe ideas? Try these:
Want more DATE NIGHT recipe ideas? Try these:
Pan-Seared Halibut with Kentucky Bourbon
- 2 halibut fillets (~ 4oz each)
- 2 TB butter, divided
- 1 TB olive oil
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
- 1/4 cup bourbon
- 1/4 cup honey OR sorghum syrup
- 4 oz fresh spinach
- Pat halibut dry, and then pat it dry again. Allow it to come to room temperature.
- Meanwhile, pour balsamic vinegar and bourbon together and set aside. Keep the balsamic-bourbon mixture within arm's reach, so that you can grab it quickly when the honey is ready.
- Pour honey into a small, heavy bottom pot and turn heat to medium. In about 1-2 minutes, the honey should start to bubble. Stir it with a wooden spoon until the honey darkens in color and turns amber (about 3 more minutes). (*Note- The caramelizing honey will be EXTREMELY hot. Do not touch it or attempt to taste it at this point.)
- Carefully, standing back from the pot in case of splash-back, pour the balsamic and bourbon mixture into the pot with the honey. Stir, and cook for 1-2 more minutes. Take sauce off the heat, and set aside. (*Note- If the sauce cools and thickens too much while the fish is cooking, simply set it back on the heat for about a minute, or until it heats up again.)
- Heat 1 TB butter and all of the olive oil in a heavy-bottom pan over medium-high heat.
- Salt both sides of the halibut.
- Set halibut in hot pan, and DO NOT TOUCH IT. Set a timer for 4 minutes, and don't touch the halibut until the timer goes off. (If your butter smokes a little, lower the heat slightly.)
- Next, use a thin metal spatula to flip the halibut. If it sticks to the pan, wait another 30 seconds. The fish will release when it's done cooking.
- Divide the remaining butter and set it on top of the two halibut fillets, allowing it to melt as the fish cooks. Sear them for 4 more minutes, and then remove halibut from the pan. Set fish to the side, and cover to keep warm.
- Lower heat to medium. Add fresh spinach to the hot pan, and toss for about 30 seconds, or until it begins to wilt. Transfer spinach to plates, and top with the fish.
- Serve spinach and fish immediately with bourbon sauce.