Pan roasted halibut filets cooked in a non-stick skillet and finished with a brief steaming in a little white wine makes an easy dinner. To finish, make a lemon-parsley-caper vinaigrette to use as a sauce. You’ll have a healthy dinner on the table in a matter of minutes. If you enjoy eating fish but think it’s hard, try this easy technique.
Pan Roasted Halibut with Lemon Caper Vinaigrette
It’s winter and the wild Alaskan halibut I love is still months away from availablity, so I’m cooking with local halibut. These pearly white filets are thinner and smaller than their Alaskan cousins, but 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
To season before cooking 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. 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 (145°). To keep the fish moist, don’t overcook it.
Lemon Caper Vinaigrette to Finish
To dress the pan roasted 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 or do it with a thicker filet, like cod but don't fold it.
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- ½ teaspoon fine lemon zest
- 1 teaspoon capers rinsed and drained
- 1 teaspoon fresh chopped parsley
- 1 teaspoon lemon pepper or regular pepper
- 2 6 ounce halibut filets
- ½ cup dry white wine sub water or vegetable broth
- First make your vinaigrette. Whisk together olive oil, lemon, juice, lemon zest, capers and parsley. Season with a pinch of salt and pepper and set aside to dress fish at serving.
- Heat a non-stick pan over medium heat. If using thin filets, fold the thin tail ends towards the center creating a more uniform piece of fish. Drizzle the top of the filet with olive oil and season. Place the fish top (seasoned) side down in the hot pan and cook for a few minutes until a golden crust forms. Turn the filets over, pour in the white wine and immediately place a tight fitting lid on top of the pan. Turn the heat down a bit to low and allow the filets to steam finish in the wine. It will only take a few minutes (about 3-5), depending on the thickness of the fish. When done, fish should be barley opaque in the center. To test with a digital thermometer it should be at 145°F. To serve, drizzle with a little of the vinaigrette.