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Halibut with Lemon-Butter and Crispy Shallots

Halibut is a common name principally applied to the two flatfish in the genus Hippoglossus from the family of right-eye flounders.

Less commonly, and in some regions only, other species of flatfish are also referred to as being halibuts. The word is derived from haly (holy) and butte (flat fish), for its popularity on Catholic holy days.[1] Halibut are demersal fish and are highly regarded as a food fish.


Halibut holds together well in cooking due to its firm flesh, making it particularly perfect for barbecuing and grilling. It should be cooked in such a way to prevent further loss of nutritional value. It is best to choose cooking methods like baking, broiling or grilling instead of deep frying. However, halibut is overcooked and made dry way too often. It’s considered done when its internal temperature reaches between 130 and 135 degrees Fahrenheit.

Pieces ranging ¾- to 1-inch thick should be cooked at 400 degrees Fahrenheit no more than 10 minutes. The general rule is to allow 10 minutes per inch thickness and turning the halibut over once. It is recommended to do four minutes per side, turning once when barbecuing, broiling, frying and grilling.

Some cookbooks recommend pieces of the same thickness to be cooked up to 1.5 hours. The longer cooking time is counterbalanced by a lower cooking temperature, around 325 degrees F. Halibut is susceptible to parasites and worms. Flukes and roundworms can be transferred to humans, causing an illness called “Anisakiasis.”  Halibut must be cooked fully, frozen or smoked. To be safe, current recommendations are aimed for 145 degrees F.

Check out our Halibut Recipes board for more ideas and inspirations.


Lemon Butter:

  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

  • Zest of 1 large lemon

  • 1/2 stick of unsalted butter at room temperature

Halibut and Crispy Shallots

  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

  • 1 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

  • 2 large cloves garlic, smashed

  • 2 halibut fillets (each 4 to 5 ounces)

  • 1/2 cup grapeseed oil

  • 2 large shallots, cut into rounds, separated into rings

  • Lemon wedges, for garnish


  1. For the lemon butter: Whisk together the lemon juice, salt, pepper, lemon zest and butter in a deep medium bowl until well blended (mixture will be like a thick sauce). Set aside until ready to use.

  2. For the halibut and crispy shallots: Combine the olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, salt, pepper and garlic in an 8x8x2 inch glass dish. Whisk the marinade to blend. Add the halibut and turn several times to coat evenly. Let stand 15 to 20 minutes.

  3. Combine the grapeseed oil and shallots in a medium heavy saucepan over medium-high head. Cook, stirring often, until the oil heats up and the shallots turn golden brown, 5 to 7 minutes. Transfer the shallots with a slotted spoon to several layers of paper towels to drain and crisp. Sprinky with salt and peppers just before using.

  4. Heat a large dry nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Life the halibut from the marinade, letting the excess drain off. Add the halibut to the hot skillet and sear 3 minutes. Turn the fish over using a flexible metal spatula. Sear until still slightly pink in the center, about 3 minutes longer, depending on the thickness. Transfer the halibut to plates. Top with a generous dollop of lemon-butter and pile the shallots alongside or scatter around the fish. Garnish with lemon wedges and serve.

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