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Halibut - favorite marinades?

Halibut is on sale tomorrow and so I plan to pick up what will be my first ever taste of halibut. I have read and been informed here that it's quite mild so I thought a marinade might be in order. Do you have any favorite marinades or seasoning combinations? My initial plan was to use an oven method likely steam en papillote, although I have been browsing various roasted and broiled recipes as well.

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  1. Even though it's mild, I think the flavor of halibut is very lovely on its own, -- almost lobster-like when it's cooked right. If this is your first time trying it, I'd recommend just tasting it as it is with salt, pepper, olive oil or butter, and lemon. If, like everyone in my family, you really need spice for something to taste good, maybe sprinkle on some cajun or Southwest seasoning blend right before cooking. And if you really have to marinade it, I'd suggest using an oil-based marinade or a dry rub rather than anything water-based.

    I haven't cooked it a lot, but I think it's a bit tricky to cook halibut perfectly. One second it's raw in the middle, the next its a bunch of big, thick, leathery flakes. Browning in butter on the stove and finishing in the oven has worked best for me. And the fish should be patted completely dry with paper towels first. Here's an old CH tip that's more or less how I do it: http://www.chow.com/food-news/921/foo...

    4 Replies
    1. re: ninrn

      I agree with this. I am not a fish enthusiast, but I LOVE halibut. I don't cook it at home because I'm afraid to screw it up because it's so expensive, but if it's on a menu at a decent restaurant, I'm ordering it. The flavor is really great on it's own or with simple seasoning.

      I think, like ninrn mentions, anytime you try something for the first time, keep it simple so you can really taste what it actually tastes like. I do this with anything that's new to me.

      1. re: juliejulez

        Yea, my original plan was steamed with ginger, scallions and a splash of sherry wine.

        1. re: fldhkybnva

          Only the smallest Halibut can be cut effectively into steaks- larger units have fletches removed from the bone and those are subdivided into fillets.

          Note-the Halibut that's been put On Sale is last year's frozen product that's being moved to make room for this year's catch.

          Prices for commercial fishermen have remained low all year and even though quotas will be filled little money is being made-you can Google the details if you like.

          FWIW-I don't marinate my Halibut just a quick pan fry w/Garlic & Lemon.

          1. re: Sam Salmon

            I see, thanks for the information. They are listed as "never frozen" so I hoped they were this year's catch.

    2. Keep it simple..
      Saute with butter, lemon, salt and pepper..maybe some capers...serve w/rice and salad.
      1-2 min. cook time on each side.
      Is it local or Alaskan?

      2 Replies
        1. re: fldhkybnva

          Alaskan halibut is now in season..don't get it in a steak cut.
          Find out if its flash frozen from this season...you don't want something that has been frozen from last year.
          Costco has it at my San Diego locale.
          Thick filets..
          MD should have a myriad of great fishmonger stores.

      1. For fillets, I would do muenière, as with sole.

        1. Maine lobster, Ipswich clams, Atlantic swordfish, Florida rock crab claws, and Alaska halibut. Nectar from the gods.
          I always see halibut as steak cut, never fillets.
          Yes, it is mild, and needs to be cooked simply. I like to apply salt and pepper, and brush one side liberally with melted butter. Put on medium hot grill. Do not touch for two minutes.
          Apply salt, pepper, butter to cold side and flip. Do not touch for two minutes. Test with probe thermometer, remove at 135 degrees. Serve with lemon wedges.

          1 Reply
          1. re: justicenow

            Yea, for some reason my local Whole Foods only seems to cut fish into filets but I guess I can inquire about steaks. Wow, your description makes it seem very worth my while and to take advantage of the wonderful sale price. I guess I just get stumped trying to figure out how something so mild can be so good but I am a fan of all of your nectar and so I think I'll likely enjoy it though I do find that swordfish, lobster, crab and clams have very distinct flavors that I wouldn't describe as mild simply because they are so unique so if halibut is similar it sounds like a good fish for me. Thanks so much for your suggestions.

          2. Halibut is one of the perfect food - it doesn't need much if it's fresh....

            Salt & Pepper olive oil, dash of lemon, is about all you need.

            I make a tarter like sauce with Mayo - a few cloves of roasted garlic, lemon, capers and dill.... I put this on the top during the last few minutes of cooking (normally I sear a bit and put in the oven for 8 - 10 minutes).... you may want to thin it a bit - and no need to use a lot. Halibut like scallops are almost better left alone.

            If it's nice and fresh the less you do the better.... IMHO

            1. Sometimes I go very very simple -- salt, pepper, then lay on a bed of thin onion slices, lemon slices, and drizzle with broth or white wine -- in a foil packet slightly open at the top. Just roasted.

              Sometimes I use a little blackening seasoning.

              Sometimes I do Halibut with Leeks and Tarragon -- i saute some thinly sliced leeks with thinly sliced sweet onions, garlic, deglaze with some broth, white wine and lemon juice, add some chopped tarragon, salt and pepper. push to the side a little; add a little butter (earth balance for us) and add in halibut, cooking til almost done, then spoon the veggie/herb mixture over the fish and cook through. definitely don't overcook. we like the a lot over roasted spaghetti squash.

              1. i never marinate halibut. Tastes too good on its own.

                1. I agree with those that suggest steaming and going easy on the seasoning / marinades (if any).

                  What I would do with Halibut in your case is a slow poach, with some sliced young ginger, quartered carrots and Granny Smith apples, and some fresh coarse ground black pepper.

                  Then right after you plate and before serving finish it off wih a drizzle of some heated toasted sesame oil and then garnish with toasted crushed cashews and black sesame seeds. Finally a gentle dusting of sea salt to complete the dish.