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

Wild Halibut en Persillade

Thick-cut wild Alaskan halibut with a light coating of homemade coarse mustard and a persillade of chopped parsley and bread crumbs..

Wild Halibut en Persillade

Wild Halibut en Persillade

Serves 2  (adapted from a recipe by Thomas Keller)

2 6-oz fillets fresh Wild Alaskan Halibut
1/3 cup dried bread crumbs
1 teaspoon parsley, chopped
1 tablespoon homemade coarse mustard
1 teaspoon filtered water
pastured butter
sea salt and freshly-ground pepper

Trim crusts from bread and pulse in a food processor.  Bake bread crumbs in a 250 degree oven, tossing occasionally until completely dry, about 1 hour.  Toss with finely chopped parsley and set aside.

Rinse fish fillets and pat dry.  Season on both sides with  salt and pepper.  Brush one side of each fillet with a thin coating of thinned mustard, then dip the mustard side of the fish into the bread crumbs, pressing lightly to form an even coating.

Heat butter in a heavy skillet over medium heat, then place the fillets crumb side down into the pan and cook until golden brown, about 1 minute.

Carefully turn fish over, then place pan into a 350 degree oven just until the fish begins to flake, about 6-8 minutes.

Arrange fish on a plate, then drizzle with a little of the browned butter from the skillet and give it a squeeze of fresh lemon.  Delicious with Nantes Carrot Stew on the side.


This post is part of Real Food Wednesdays!

Wild Alaskan Halibut Chowder

Spectacular flaky white halibut, Kennebec potatoes, celery, onions, streaky bacon and fresh cream..


Cut uncured bacon into 1/4 inch dice and cook in a heavy skillet until crisp and all fat has been rendered.

Meanwhile, dice and blanch 2 Kennebec potatoes in salted boiling water.  Cook until not quite tender, drain and set aside.  Place a thick halibut fillet in a small, heavy skillet, drizzle with olive oil and season with Old Bay.  Cook in a 400 degree oven until it flakes easily but is not quite done, perhaps 10 minutes.  Set aside.

Pour off all but 1 tablespoon of bacon fat, lower heat to medium low and add 1 tablespoon pastured butter.  Add minced garlic, sliced green onions and diced celery and cook until softened, about 5 minutes.

Add 1 cup clam juice and potatoes, simmer 5 minutes.  Add halibut and fresh cream and simmer until thickened, about 10 minutes.

Season to taste with sea salt and cracked pepper and ladle into a bowl or onto a deep dinner plate.  Garnish with fresh parsley and chives.

High in protein and Omega-3, long-line caught wild Alaskan halibut is a sustainable best-choice