Love halibut? This delicious pan-seared halibut is made with fish seared in butter and oil, and then served with a lemon and caper pan sauce.
A few weeks ago, we got the best delivery.
It was a box packed full of frozen Alaska halibut from my Sitka Salmon CSF (community supported fishery) share.
It’s like a CSA (community supported agriculture) but for seafood instead of veggies, and is a great way to find high-quality seafood like halibut and black cod (sablefish). I loved making this teriyaki black cod and broiled black cod with sweet chili sauce.
As I unboxed the halibut, I immediately started dreaming of all the ways I could prepare it.
First, I opted for this simple yet decadent pan-seared halibut based on Julia Child’s fish meunière.
What Does Halibut Taste Like?
Halibut is lean and meaty with a mild, sweet flavor.
What If I Can’t Find Halibut?
Halibut can be hard to find where I live. That’s one of the reasons I was so excited to have it delivered!
If you can’t find halibut, you can make this recipe with cod instead.
How to Pan-Sear Halibut
Start by heating a heavy-bottom pan, such as cast iron or carbon steel. I love my Lodge 12″ carbon steel skillet.
Add a little butter and olive oil.
While the butter melts, pat your (thawed) halibut dry, and dust it with flour. Use gluten-free all-purpose flour (like Cup 4 Cup) if you’re avoiding gluten.
Set the halibut in the hot pan.
Cook the fish for about four minutes. As it cooks, you’ll see the bottom crisping up and the center becoming opaque from the bottom up.
After four minutes, use a thin metal spatula to flip the fish. If the fish sticks, wait 30 seconds and try again.
The halibut will release from the pan when it’s ready to flip.
Flip the fish, and top each fillet with a little more butter.
Cook the fillets about 4 more minutes, until the halibut is crisped and golden on both sides and the center of the fish is opaque.
Remove the halibut from the pan and cover it to keep it warm.
Add lemon juice, some fresh herbs, and capers to the hot pan.
Stir and simmer the sauce for just a moment, and then remove it from the heat.
Top the halibut with the lemon caper pan sauce, and serve it right away.
- 8 oz halibut (2 fillets)
- 1 TB flour Use gluten-free AP flour if needed
- pinch salt, pepper
- 1 TB olive oil
- 2 TB butter, divided
- 1 lemon, juiced
- 1 TB capers
- small handful fresh herbs (such as fresh rosemary, chives, or oregano)
- Pat halibut fillets dry. Dust with flour, and shake off any excess. Sprinkle them on both sides with salt and pepper.Prepare a heavy pan with the olive oil and 1 TB butter. Heat on medium-high until butter is melted but not browned, then turn the heat down to medium.
- Place the fillets in the pan and cook about 4 minutes. Don't touch the fillets until they're ready to flip.Use a thin metal spatula to test the fish. If you can slide the spatula under the fish without the fish sticking to the pan, it's ready to flip. If the fillets won't release, give them another 30 seconds. They'll release when they've finished cooking.After flipping, divide the remaining 1 TB butter over both fillets.
- Cook fish another 3-4 minutes until done. Fish will be golden on both the top and bottom and opaque all the way through when finished cooking.Transfer the fish to plates, leaving the excess butter in the pan. Cover fish to keep warm, or set fish in a 200ºF oven.
- Reduce heat to medium. Add the lemon juice and capers, and stir with a wooden spoon. Add half the herbs and stir again. Serve fish hot with pan sauce and remaining herbs.