Pan Roasted Halibut with Lemon Caper Vinaigrette

By Sally on January 29, 2012

fish & shellfish,



Pan-roast halibut filets in a hot non-stick skillet and finish them with a brief steaming in a little white wine. 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. If you enjoy eating fish but think it’s hard, try this easy technique.

As it’s winter and the wild Alaskan halibut I love is still months away from being available, I’ve turned happily to cooking with local halibut. These pearly white filets are thinner and smaller than their wild Alaskan cousins, still delicious and definitely more affordable. This 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.

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.

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. This is sort of like what we call Piccata in the U.S., but with no butter so it’s lighter. 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


Leave a Comment
sara | January 30, 2012 at 1:47 pm

Love this! Halibut is one of my favorite types of fish, this looks really delicious! :)

Madonna | January 30, 2012 at 2:39 pm

This fish dish is a perfect example of why your dishes set you apart from all other blogs. Your attention to prep and presentation is wonderful, and I have tried hard to emulate you. I love that I can cook this for just two or for company. Thank you again.

I did not get a chance to comment on your mushroom/pasta sauce. Do you prefer this one to your roasted one?

    Sally | January 30, 2012 at 8:25 pm

    They are very different sauces Madonna. I really love them both!

Russell at Chasing Delicious | January 30, 2012 at 3:36 pm

Wow gorgeous dish. This is my kind of dinner. Yum!

Simply Tia | January 30, 2012 at 6:18 pm

Thank you for that idea about folding fish. I don’t have halibut on hand but I have some thin long tilapia and now I know exactly how to prepare it so that it looks thicker.

Your photo is gorgeous. Your fish looks very flavorful and delicious. Will be saving this recipe!

Bridget Stangland | March 12, 2012 at 6:03 pm

This looks amazing! I love your website. Beautiful!

Michelle K | April 4, 2012 at 8:53 pm

This was tonight’s dinner withe some steamed broccoli and wild rice. We got a thick beautiful, fresh piece of Sea of Cortez halibut at Sprout’s (usually we don’t see them this nice there, so a great surprise for the price!) and your recipe was easy to follow and came out wonderful! True to the blog, it was fast and easy, great for weeknight cooking. We’ll be making this one again – yum! Thank you!

M kissel | September 15, 2014 at 8:12 pm

Made it tonight. Loved it, great with green beans. Yum!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>