Pan Seared Halibut with Miso Sauce

By Sally Cameron on February 11, 2014

Dinner, Fish & Seafood, Gluten-Free, the daniel plan

Here is an easy and elegant halibut dish prepared in a snap. Pan seared halibut with miso sauce. Make the rice ahead of time and re-heat, prep the asparagus in a minute to roast. You will have a healthy dinner on the table in just minutes. The savory miso-butter sauce is delicious as well as versatile.

Pan Seared Halibut with Miso Sauce

If your only experience with miso is the golden soup at a sushi bar, prepare to be amazed. With a savory, umami flavor, there is much more you can do with miso like this miso butter sauce. Try it with fish or seared scallops. Here, I’ve paired it with fresh halibut. Other firm white fish works as well.

About Miso

A centuries-old, traditional Japanese seasoning, miso is double fermented from whole soybeans into a paste. Miso is a living, fermented food containing natural digestive enzymes and other probiotic microorganisms which aid in digestion. According to Japanese mythology, miso was a gift to mankind from the gods to assure lasting health, longevity, and happiness.

Find miso in the refrigerated dairy section of markets and online. Look for an organic brand and compare sodium levels. If you eat gluten-free, be sure to read the label. Some miso is fermented with grain.

The best brand I have found is South River Miso. While shipping miso is not as convenient as buying it at the store their miso is totally worth it. I could eat it straight out of the jar. Miso lasts practically forever refrigerated so you can order several jars at once in different flavors and experiment. For this recipe I use sweet white miso.

 An Easy Valentine’s Dinner

Season fresh halibut fillets (or other white fish) with black pepper and granulated garlic. You won’t need salt as miso is salty. Sear quickly in a hot, non-stick pan with a little coconut oil until a golden crust is achieved. Turn fish over and spread with half of a sweet white miso and butter combination. You can use coconut butter or dairy butter. One clarification – use oil for the pan and butter with the miso for the paste/sauce.

Splash in a bit of dry sake, white wine, fish broth or vegetable broth. Quickly cover pan with a lid and turn heat to low. The miso-butter melts over the top as the fish quickly finishes cooking, another 3-4 minutes. Cooking times will depend on the thickness of your fish fillets.

Serve halibut over black rice or quinoa with a side of fresh roast asparagus or steamed snap or snow peas. Create a sauce using the miso butter. Remove the fish to a plate and whisk with the pan juices to create a sauce. Alternatively toss the extra miso with hot rice.

halibut with miso butter sauce

Here’s another easy halibut recipe served with a lemon-caper vinaigrette.

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Pan Seared Halibut with Miso Sauce

Sweet white miso and either coconut butter or dairy butter make an incredible savory sauce for topping seared fish. Its a quick, easy and healthy recipe that works with halibut or other firm, white fish filets, as well as seared scallops. if miso is new to you, read more on the South River website, my favorite brand of miso. Serve with Forbidden black rice and a green vegetable such as roast asparagus or steamed snap or snow peas.
Course Entree, fish
Cuisine Asian
Keyword halibut, miso
Servings 4


  • Non-stick pan with lid


  • 1 1/4 pounds halibut filet or other white fish
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon granulated garlic
  • 2 tablespoons sweet white miso  soft at room temperature
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter dairy or coconut, soft at room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons coconut oil for the pan
  • 1/2 cup dry sake or vegetable or fish broth

Optional Garnish

  • 1 tablespoon chopped chives


  • Cut fish into four equal portions and season with black pepper and granulated garlic. Mix together miso and butter into a smooth paste.
  • Heat a non-stick pan over medium heat and add coconut oil. Place fish top side down into pan and sear until a golden crust forms. Turn fish over and spread half of the miso-butter paste on top of the filets. Splash in the sake or broth and quickly cover the pan with a lid. Fish will steam finish in 2-4 minutes depending on the thickness as the miso butter melts on top. Fish is done when a digital thermometer reads 145°F.
  • When fish is done, remove to a plate and keep warm. Use other half of miso butter to whisk with pan juices into a sauce or toss with hot rice.
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  1. Tess @ Tips on Healthy Living - February 12th, 2014

    Your halibut looks delicious! I’ve been having a hard time finding a Valentine’s Day recipe that is as delicious as it is healthy, and this is perfect. Thanks for sharing!

  2. Sally - February 12th, 2014

    Thanks Tess! We eat this weekly. It’s my “go-to” dinner right now. Easy, tasty and healthy. After you make it with the halibut, try it with seared scallops.

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