Is it realistic to pan fry a halibut filet in butter w/just s&p, or does it need flavor boosters? Gift from fishing friend - never cooked or eaten it before. Thank you.
Absolutely. I'd use a litle clarified butter and high heat at the start (to give the fish a little color). If your filet is thick (say over 1 1/2"), I would sear both sides in a pan, then throw the works into a 450 oven to roast for 5 minutes (depends on thickness).
While the fish cooks, I'd make a brown butter in a separate pan. Take whole butter, and cook over medium heat until the solids turn nutty, medium brown, and season w/ s&p.
Don't need to but you can add chopped fresh herbs, lemon zest, chopped nuts, grated hard cheese, madeira, etc, to your brown butter. Myself - I'd take some fresh sage leaves and fry them until crisp. If not, just butter, salt and pepper would still be delicious.
A lot depends on whether you are cooking California halibut, or Alaskan. The Cal is about the size of a large flounder, and is much more delicate than the Alaskan monsters.
Had some halibut cooked in a curry sauce recently. The curry sauce was left over from another meal, and we just cooked the halibut on one side and then poured over the curry sauce to finish cooking.
The curry sauce was light (japanese-type curry), and the curry spice was from indonesia or malaysia.
The light coating went well with the halibut.
I'll sear in some olive oil, about 5 minutes a side. I like it with a saute of shallots and red flakes.