Pan roasted halibut with lemon caper vinaigrette has become my “go-to” recipe for a fast fish dinner. I’ve probably made it five times in the past few weeks, for the two of us and dinner guests as well. If you enjoy eating fish but think it’s hard, try this easy technique.
Fresh Local Fish
It’s winter and the wild Alaskan halibut I love is still months away from being in season. I’ve turned happily to cooking with local halibut. These pearly white filets are thinner and smaller than their Alaskan cousins, but still delicious and definitely more affordable.
Pan Roasted Halibut with Lemon Caper Vinaigrette
Pan-roast halibut filets in a non-stick skillet and finish them with a brief steaming in a little white wine or broth. To finish the dish, make a lemon-parsley-caper vinaigrette to use as a sauce. You’ll have an easy and healthy dinner on the table in a matter of minutes.
Fold Your Fish
Long, thin tapered fish filets can be tricky to work with. They can be too long to fit in a pan or fall apart when you turn them. They don’t present as impressively as a thicker filet. The solution? Fold them. This creates a thicker, more uniform piece of fish to work with.
With the smooth side (or top side) down, fold in the thin ends of the filet. After folding your filets, turn them over. Drizzle the top with a tiny bit of olive oil then season.
Season and Cook For a Fast Dinner
My favorite seasoning blend lately is Penzey’s Florida Seasoned Pepper. It’s a salt-free blend of Tellicherry black pepper, lemon peel, orange peel, garlic and onion. You can use salt, pepper and granulated garlic combination or a lemon pepper blend, whatever you prefer.
Heat a non-stick pan over medium heat. Add the filets seasoned side down. Don’t touch them for a few minutes, allowing a golden crust to form. Peak underneath to test.
Next, turn the filets over, add white wine to the pan and quickly clamp on a tight fitting lid. If you have them, glass lids work well so you can see what’s going on in the pan.
Note – if you don’t cook with wine, use a lemon juice and water combination, chicken broth or fish broth.
Turn the heat down a little. Depending on the thickness of your filets, your fish will steam to completion in just a few minutes. The halibut should be barely opaque in the center when done. To keep the fish moist, don’t overcook it.
Lemon Vinaigrette to Finish
To dress the halibut, make a light and flavorful vinaigrette with olive oil, lemon juice, parsley and capers. Spoon a tablespoon over the fish when you serve. For extra lemon flavor, add a small wedge of lemon to squeeze over the top.
If you can’t find halibut, try another mild, white fish that has thin filets.
Other Helpful Links
- Seafood recommendations from Seafood Watch and the Monterey Bay Aquarium
- How to make homemade lemon pepper, from Laurie at Simply Scratch. You could also add orange zest to come close to the Penzey’s blend.
- Another recipe for homemade lemon pepper from eHow Food
- Penzey’s salt-free Florida Seasoned Pepper, already made for you. I like the combo of lemon and orange.
- Need another sauce option? Try this pineapple mango salsa and skip the vinaigrette