A Quick-Seared Fish That Sizzles and Satisfies

For a lean, firm fish like halibut, a fast cook followed by a buttery pan sauce and a crunchy bread crumb topping yields great results.

Comments: 22

  1. Thank you for this article, enlightening to all fish lovers. I agree that "for moist, juicy results, frying or searing is the best option". However, my most preferred method is to grill a whole fish, until it is crusty on the outline and still soft inside for boning. Not to forget to accompany it by dry white wine.

  2. Good luck trying to grill a whole halibut.

  3. Grilling filets works well.

  4. Agree on all points, except for the use of olive oil in which to sear. I prefer a higher-temp-resistant oil, such as safflower, because I tend to go with a hotter pan to achieve that bronzed sear; not as hot as for beef, but still hot enough to cause that immediate, aggressive sizzle when the protein hits the pan. As suggested, a finishing drizzle of olive oil is a nice, tasty touch, but after a fast pan-wipe, I'll usually whip up a simple, quick butter sauce variant.

  5. We have been using grape seed oil due to its tolerance for high heat without smoking. Just a thought.

  6. Please allow the photos to be printed! There are at least two good reasons for doing so. First, the photo shows in a delightful way what the dish is supposed to look like. In this instance, the photo demonstrates what a properly seared filet should look like. When I go to make this recipe, I want to be able to compare my work to the photos. Second, the photos help me remember what drew me to this recipe days, months, or years later when I think that I might want to make it again. The photos add so much!

  7. Ann, I have a macbook and I just now tried the following successfully. (If you have a PC or other computer you may be able to figure out how to do something similar). 1. Take a screen shot of the picture/s. 2. Trim the picture so that you have just the image you want. (Click and move the cursor to outline what you want, then 'command k' to cut it. 'Command z' will undo what you did). 3. Copy that image (and any other images) and paste to a blank Word doc. 4. Turn that document into a PDF file and save it. 5. Now open or save the recipe as a PDF file. 6. With the recipe open in PDF go to the 'edit' function and with the 'insert' command you can insert the pages with the images into the recipe PDF. Hope this helps.

  8. The recipe is incomplete without describing the temperature of the fish prior to cooking. Some writers recommend bringing the cold fish to near room temperature. My refrigerator is set to approximately 38 F, and fish at that temperature often do not get "cooked through" unless they are allowed to warm up a bit. What bit?

  9. There is a convention, rarely articulated but nearly always followed by recipe-writers, that meat, poultry and fish should be brought to room temperature before cooking. Many, if not most, home cooks do not know this and complain that cooking times shown in recipes are too short.

  10. Try searing white fish in butter and lemon juice in a non stick pan. You catch the flavour from the fish in all that butter and it is brown and crisp. After the fish is removed, melt and brown more butter with more lemon juice to “wipe up” the flavours in the pan. Drizzle over the fish or gnocchi.

  11. A sprinkling of sliced almonds during frying adds a nice touch.

  12. I like to marinade the halibut filets in white wine, tarragon and lemon peel. Then put into foil packets, and bake in oven.

  13. I love halibut exactly like this but I add capers to the finishing lemon-butter sauce. Fast, beautiful and delicious.

  14. The Halibut want to live as much as you and I and we are killing them by the millions for our taste buds. Leave them alone. Go vegan!

  15. @ Wayne Johnson Santa Monica Do so, if you want to oppose the course of evolution: the human is a panphagous or omnivorous animal. The dualistic Manicheans, Cathars, and Jains to the contrary notwithstanding.

  16. "Halibut feed on small crustaceans and other bottom-dwelling organisms. Animals found in their stomachs include sand lance, octopus, crab, salmon, hermit crabs, lamprey, sculpin, cod, pollock, herring, and flounder, AS WELL AS OTHER HALIBUT"-Wikipedia Vegans routinely harvest and kill and eat plants so I guess no one is free from blame except maybe the plants but even they need nitrates that come from other dead organisms to survive. Its the circle of life!

  17. Plants want to live, too. Go food-free!!!

  18. I agree: fast, beautiful and delicious. My farmers market fish monger had Black Fish [which I had never had] and I prepared it as per the recipe - wonderful! Thank you David Tanis.

  19. I am looking forward to trying this. Karsten Moran"s photography makes me want to try it RIGHT NOW! Even just the sage... Many thanks

  20. The crispiness of the sage takes dish to new level! Subbed salt & pepper with cajun spice and used on grouper. A new family favorite!

  21. I don't buy halibut often, but I often get one large piece and bake it with lots of butter, bread crumbs, sage and tarragon. Next time I get a fillet I'll try it in the pan like this.

  22. Fresh Pacific halibut is perfect and goes a long way, which is good since it costs roughly $25 per lb. The method described takes about 5 to 7 minutes for the halibut and you can do the butter sauce while the fish is still cooking, thus basting fish with sauce. I agree about the baking. It dries out fast!