Pan-Seared Halibut with Spiced Lemon Confit, English Peas

Wild Alaskan halibut seared in clarified butter and topped with spiced lemon confit, English peas and fresh parsley, cracked pepper and crunchy sea salt..

For the Lemon Confit (Saveur Magazine)

2 lemons
1-1/2 cups extra-virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon cracked coriander seeds
1 teaspoon cracked fennel seeds
1 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon crushed red chile flakes
2 bay leaves

Halve lemons crosswise and squeeze their juice into a bowl; set juice aside.

Thinly slice juiced lemons crosswise and transfer lemons, reserved juice, and remaining ingredients to a 1-qt. saucepan over high heat. Bring mixture to a simmer, reduce heat to medium-low, and cook, stirring occasionally, for 15 minutes.

Remove pan from heat; let cool. Transfer lemon confit to a glass jar, cover, and refrigerate. Confit will keep, refrigerated, for 3 weeks.

For the Halibut and Peas

2 wild Alaskan halibut filets, skinned, about 5-6 ounces each
2 tablespoons clarified butter
1 cup English peas, shelled
fine sea salt and freshly-ground black pepper
2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped
coarse sea salt for finishing

Gently rinse the halibut in cold water, pat dry and season lightly on both sides with salt and pepper.

Meanwhile, heat the butter in a heavy-bottomed skillet over medium heat until shimmering.

Carefully slide the halibut filets into the hot pan and sear without moving for 3 minutes.

Use a fish spatula to carefully turn the filets over and cook another 3 minutes (depending on thickness), basting all the while with the butter from the pan (the fish is done when it becomes opaque and easily separates into large flakes).  Transfer fish to warm dinner plates.

Quickly sauté the peas in the fish pan until just done, about 2-3 minutes.

Spoon some lemon confit over the fish, then spoon the peas on top of that.

Finish with coarse sea salt and parsley and serve immediately.

Pacific halibut is a bottom-dwelling groundfish that nestles into the sandy seafloor, often seen with only its eyes and mouth uncovered. Primarily found in the coastal North Pacific Ocean and Bering Sea, it migrates hundreds of miles from shallow coastal waters to the deep, open ocean to spawn in winter. Most return, year after year, to the same coastal feeding grounds.

Most Pacific halibut are caught in Alaska where fishing for Pacific halibut is strictly limited to the bottom longlining method, which causes little habitat damage or bycatch. Pacific halibut is also caught using troll lines and bottom trawl nets.  —Seafood Watch