Roast Halibut with Roast Baby Tomatoes

by Sally on April 12, 2011 · 8 comments

in Fish & Shellfish

Mild flavored and pearly white, there is nothing like fresh Alaskan halibut.  I’m always happy when spring arrives and halibut comes into season. Although it’s pricey right now, I couldn’t resist the beautiful thick filets at the fish counter for our Sunday dinner. With a container of organic Sugar Plum tomatoes left from a catered dinner the night before, I had my inspiration.

I tossed the halved tomatoes with a generous tablespoon of fresh chopped thyme from my garden, a couple cloves of finely minced fresh garlic, olive oil, salt and pepper and roasted them until they shriveled and started to brown a bit at the edges. Roasting tomatoes develops an amazing flavor as their sweetness concentrates. The fresh thyme is a great compliment.

I like to sear my halibut on the stovetop then finish in a hot oven. The whole process took just 10 minutes in total. I added brocclini as a side dish and we had a fast, tasty and incredibly healthy dinner in about 25 minutes.

When you buy fresh halibut figure 6 ounces per person. That’s not only portion control, but budget control. The filet I purchased was very thick; two inches to be exact.

If not already done, cut the halibut into 6-ounce portions.  If there is any dark purple flesh on the bottom I carefully trim if off with a sharp filet knife. You can ask the person at the fish counter to do this for you. Season generously with salt and pepper. I like to use Szechuan Pepper Salt, available from Penzeys and other suppliers.

Heat a non-stick pan over medium heat and drizzle in a little olive oil. When the oil starts to shimmer and liquefy (not smoke), place the halibut filets in the pan presentation side (or top side) down. The fish should sizzle when it hits the hot pan. Allow the halibut to sear for three minutes, until it has a golden crust when you peak underneath. Carefully turn the fish over and sear for one minute longer.

Place halibut on a parchment or foil lined rimmed baking sheet and roast at 425 degrees for approximately 6 minutes. That’s it’s. Your timing will depend on the thickness of the filets. If they are thinner they will roast more quickly. Your halibut should still be moist and barely translucent in the center, not dry and flakey. Don’t over cook it.

Warm up some dinner plates; place your roast halibut on the plate and spoon on the roast tomatoes. The broccolini takes just three minutes in boiling, salted water. To serve, drizzle the halibut, tomatoes and broccolini all with a little finishing olive oil or a squeeze of lemon.

With fresh halibut in season, try this simple method of roasting fish for an easy and healthy dinner.

Roast Halibut with Roast Baby Tomatoes

Roast Halibut
Easy to prepare, sear your filets on the stove top and finish in a hot oven. Top with Roast Tomatoes (recipe below) or simply a squeeze of lemon and a little olive oil.

Serves 4


  • 4 – 6 ounce fresh halibut filets, preferably thick filets from Alaska
  • Salt and pepper, to taste ( I like Szechuan Pepper Salt from Penzeys)
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • Lemon wedges, optional


  1.  If cold, allow halibut to get the chill of by allowing it to stand at room temperature for 30-45 minutes.
  2. Cover a quarter or half sheet rimmed backing sheet with parchment or foil and set aside.
  3. Pre-heat the oven to 425 degrees. Place a non-stick skillet or fry pan over medium heat and add oil. Season halibut with salt and pepper. When the oil is shimmering (but not smoking), place the halibut top side down in the pan. Allow a golden crust to form, about 3 minutes. Turn the halibut over and sear 1 minute longer. Remove the halibut to your prepared baking sheet.
  4. Roast in the oven for approximately 6 minutes for 2″ thick filets. If your filets are thinner, roast for a shorter time. When done, halibut will be moist and barely opaque in the center. Remove and serve with a drizzle of good olive oil and a squeeze of fresh lemon.

Note – Another way to test if your fish is done is by using a cake tester tool which is a very thin metal skewer. Place it in the middle of the filet for a few seconds and remove it. Hold it close to your upper lip to feel the heat. Sounds crazy but it works.  If the center is warm, not hot, the fish should be ready.

Roast Halibut with Roast Baby Tomatoes

Roast Baby Tomatoes with Thyme

These bright, herb roasted tomatoes go great with fish and equally as well with chicken. Spoon some over an omelet like salsa or sprinkle into a salad. There are many ways to enjoy them. Next time you have a container of baby tomatoes on the counter and don’t know what to do with them, roast them. Try multi-color baby tomatoes for even more color.


  • 12-16 ounces organic sweet baby tomatoes such as Sugar Plum or Grapeseed, halved
  • 1 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2-3 large garlic cloves, finely minced or squished through a garlic press
  • 1 generous tablespoon fresh chopped thyme leaves
  • salt and pepper to taste


  1. Pre-heat oven to 375 degree, salt and pepper. Spread tomatoes on the baking sheet and roast for 20-25 minutes until shriveled and edges are just starting to turn a bit brown. Timing will depend on your oven. I let mine go about  25 minutes on the convection setting.
  2. Serve warm, or cool and refrigerate.  They will keep a few days in the refrigerator, if they last that longs. Cover a quarter sheet or half sheet rimmed baking sheet with parchment or foil. Toss halved tomatoes with oil, garlic, thyme.

More links to halibut recipes you might enjoy:

Ling Cod with Tomato and Orange, from Simply Recipes (original recipe was with halibut)

Alaska Halibut Recipes

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{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Bruce Caraway April 12, 2011 at 4:50 pm

Hi Sally:

The new site looks incredible – great job on an awesome implementation of the Thesis theme!
I find myself noting some nice touches in your site layout and graphics that I may need for my own future “inspiration”. ;-)

…and as always, your recipes and food imagery continue to inspire some new things attempted in the kitchen.


– Bruce


2 Fran April 12, 2011 at 8:48 pm

The site looks beautiful and the finished halibut shot is fabulous, so inviting and you know I like those stovetop shots with the beautiful blue flame.


3 Stacy April 12, 2011 at 6:42 pm

Found your blog through foodgawker! And I love this recipe – I just emailed it to my Mom as well. Super easy, super healthy, and it looks AMAZING! I’m going to have to make it soon!


4 Carrie April 13, 2011 at 5:17 pm

What a gorgeous dish! I always think that simple preparations of really nice seafoods/meats like this are the absolute best. Beautiful!


5 Nicole April 15, 2011 at 6:50 pm

I just bought some halibut at Costco and was trying to decide what to do with it. Now I know! Your photos are absolutely fantastic.


6 April Somboun April 15, 2011 at 7:32 pm

Perfect timing! I have been looking for a vibrant and delicious fish recipe to cater towards my pescatarian friend who will be over for dinner. Thanks.


7 Dr. Patrick Mahaney April 16, 2011 at 5:44 am

That looks so amazing! The combination of fresh fish and tomato has always been a favorite of mine!


8 Debbie Spangler May 18, 2011 at 8:14 pm

Thanks so much for sharing this recipe! I was looking for a halibut recipe for a wedding reception and this will be perfect with late summer tomatoes


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