Perfectly pan-fried Pacific halibut is a simple but lovely preparation of this hearty white fillet, one that lets the quality of the fish take center stage on your plate. Whether enjoyed with pared back seasonings or dressed up with a delectable sauce, pan-fried Pacific halibut is proof that white fish can be one of the most interesting additions to your seafood routine.
Our cooking tips will help you hone the basic technique for searing Pacific halibut, whether you’re working with fillets or bone-in steaks. The main difference is that bone-in steaks tend to be cut thicker than fillets, so you’ll simply need to adjust cook time accordingly.
Simple Tips for Perfectly Pan-Fried Halibut
Pat the fillet or steak dry to remove excess moisture.
Sufficiently heat your pan and oil (sizzling hot!) before adding the fillet.
An instant-read thermometer ensures perfect doneness.
How to Pan-Fry Halibut
Gather your materials and ingredients: Your fillet(s), tea towel or paper towels, fish spatula, high-heat cooking oil, salt and pepper, skillet
Heat a skillet over medium-high heat. Meanwhile, pat halibut fillet or steak dry with a tea towel or paper towel, then season with salt and pepper.
Add just enough oil to cover bottom of skillet, then allow to heat up. Once oil begins to shimmer (hot enough to sizzle) carefully place fish onto skillet.
Sear undisturbed until fish releases easily with the help of the fish spatula, about 3 to 4 minutes. Flip carefully, then allow to cook until internal temperature of fish reaches 130F at its thickest part for medium doneness, about 3 or 4 minutes depending on thickness of fish.
Once you've mastered the basic technique for searing halibut, try dressing it up with our recipe for Pacific Halibut Steak with a Creamy Peppercorn Sauce, or this recipe for Brown Butter Pacific Halibut with Sage and Breadcrumbs.
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*Consuming raw or undercooked meats, poultry, seafood, shellfish, or eggs may increase your risk of food-borne illness, especially if you have a certain medical condition. The FDA recommends an internal temperature of 145°F for cooked fish.