Got a beautiful halibut filet from WA. Yikes! Am an absolute rookie when it comes to fresh fish. Everything I read says halibut is difficult to cook, which further terrifies me. Is there any such thing as a fool-proof cooking method?
No need to be afraid. It is no harder to cook then any other fish. I am assuming you have portion size filets. Here is what I would do. Season the fish with salt and white pepper. Use a non-stick skillet, add enough oil to coat the pan and saute them until they start to brown on one side, you usually want to place it skin side up into the saute pan, then flip them and place the pan into a 400 degree oven to finish cooking for 7 to 10 minutes depending on their thickness and size. Remove them from the oven and place them on a platter. Then put the saute pan back on the heat melt a little butter, two tablespoons or so with a glug or two of dry white wine and then add some chopped parsley and a squeeze of lemon juice. Simple yet it will let the halibut shine. If the filet is whole bake it in the oven at 375 degrees until it is just cooked through, about 15 to 20 minutes depending on the thickness and size it could be a longer time, and while it is baking make the same sauce in a saute pan adding the parsley and lemon to the pan just before you want to serve the fish.
thirschfeld, that sounds just delicious and easy! Just to mix things up, I've made these two recipes and variations thereof quite a lot:
whatever you do, enjoy!!
thirschfeld has done mostly what I would do, except I'd use dry vermouth (13 herbs add untold nuance) and I like to put a skim of good Dijon mustard on the top of the fillet and add some herbed crumbs. I put the crumbed side face down first in the pan, then flip it so the skin is down and finish it in the oven. The mustard is NOT a dominant flavor, just a subtle back note. We LOVE halibut at Chez Julia.
Actually, I'd be dubious of halibut recipes that seem too difficult. As others have said, it's a fairly easy fish as its delicate, sweet flavor is best when not overwhelmed by heavy sauces or fussy preparations.
A little wine, lemon, butter, parsley, maybe a few capers and boom, done. Grilling it works well too - but watch so it doesn't overcook and get dry and flaky.
I agree with the white wine butter sauce recco's. Here's what I used, it is so good. But I do like the frist suggestion to transfer to the oven and let finish cooking, while you do the simple sauce. The little bit of diced tomato and capers add perfect acidity.
Living in Alaska, I have a freezer full of halibut and salmon. My favorite thing to do with halibut is my pan fried macadamia crusted halibut. I combine about a cup and half each of macadamia nuts and panko and pulse a few times in my food processor. Then I run serving size pieces of the fish through the classic breading trinity. First I dredge in flour, then dip into an egg wash, and last coat with the macadamia mixture. Sometimes I add additional seasonings, such as marjoram or basil in with the panko breading. I let the fish firm up in the refridgerator for about 15 minutes. I then pan fry in olive oil until crisp and golden, about 5 minutes per side for a medium thick piece of fish. It is light and fresh tasting and goes well with an array of sauces...I prefer fruit based sauces such as pineapple salsas or chutneys.