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The largest of all the flatfish, halibut is cut for cooking into chunky steaks or fillets. A firm, meaty fish, it is extremely versatile to cook with. Its mild flavor means it is delicious served simply fried or grilled, with a full-flavored marinade or sauce. Pan-frying is a quick and tasty way to serve halibut. Ideally, it leaves the fish moist and melting, with a delicious, slightly crunchy outer crust.

Buy your cut of fish or prepare it yourself. To fillet, remove the skin on both sides by making an incision near the tail and then peeling away from the tail in one firm motion, before gently releasing the fillets with a knife and pulling away the central bones from the head end of the fish. For steaks, trim away the frills and small fins, remove the head and cut into portions.

Prepare a seasoned flour mixture. Dip the fish into the flour, making sure both sides are well covered. Shake to remove any excess.

Heat 1 tbsp. sunflower or olive oil in a pan. Lower the heat and then add the fish to the oil, following it with 1 tbsp. unsalted butter cut into pieces. Fry until golden brown on both sides -- 4 to 5 minutes for fillets or 5 to 7 minutes for steaks.


For extra flavor, try rubbing fish with a mixture of spices before flouring. Chili, coriander and cumin make tasty additions. Or, after removing the cooked fish, deglaze the pan with wine and make a fresh, zingy 2-minute sauce of cream, lemon and fresh herbs. Or serve simply, spooning melted butter over the fish, with an added a squeeze of lemon.


Halibut can dry out easily as it is a thick, meaty fish containing very little oil. To avoid this, do not cook over high heat. It is better to cook gently for longer than quickly over too high a heat.

About the Author

Natasha Sheldon

Natasha Sheldon has been a writer since 2000. Her work can be found on several websites including Travel Thru History and Italianvisits.com. Sheldon holds a Bachelor of Arts in ancient history and archaeology from the University of Leicester and a Master of Arts in ancient history and historiography from the University of Bristol.