Recipe: Pan Seared Halibut
This pan seared halibut with lemon dill butter sauce combines classic flavors making it a guaranteed palate pleaser. I wanted to share the French Beurre Blanc lemon dill sauce recipe with you because it really is very simple to make!
Halibut is rich in various nutrients such as selenium, magnesium, phosphorus potassium, vitamin B12, niacin, vitamin B6 and omega-3 essential fatty acids.
Keep in mind, halibut has fallen victim to mercury contamination. I would consume this fish only on occasion. I think fish is a very healthy food, but you must be mindful of the current state of our oceans and fish. Large fish like halibut contain mercury, but are still okay to each on occasion in a Modern Paleo diet.
I love to do fish with delicate butter sauces like a classic French beurre blanc. The beurre blanc technique uses white wine that has been concentrated down and made into a luscious sauce by gradually adding pieces of cubed butter, creating the perfect emulsion. Adding fresh herbs like dill really make the sauce memorable and balances the rich texture of the butter sauce.
Halibut has a pretty firm flesh, so it can stand up to heat very well, which makes it easy to achieve a beautiful golden brown crust. I learned over time that a hot pan, sizzling oil, dry surface on the fish, and a little bit of patience and attention helped create the beautiful pan seared crust on my fish.
Serves 2 | Cook time: 30 min | Prep time: 10 minutes
- 2- 8 ounce halibut fillets (about 2 inch thick)
- Sea salt
- Black pepper
- Olive oil
- 1 cup dry white wine (Chardonnay recommended)
- ⅓ cup minced shallots
- ½ cup unsalted grass fed butter, cut into ½ inch cubes, chilled
- 3 tablespoons chopped fresh dill
- 2 teaspoons lemon zest
- 3 teaspoons lemon juice
- Sea salt, to taste
Make your dill sauce.
- In a small sauce pan, heat wine and shallots over medium high heat, until reduced to 2 tablespoons, about 12-15 minutes.
- Turn off the heat. Gradually add each cube of butter into the reduction, whisking each piece to create a thicker emulsified sauce. Be careful! If you heat your sauce over 136 degrees it will separate 🙁
- Add the chopped dill, lemon zest and lemon juice into the sauce, whisking to combine. Taste the sauce and season with salt as needed. Set sauce aside.
Remove the fish from the refrigerator and let stand for 15 minutes. Pat dry with a paper towel to soak up moisture. Season each side of the halibut fillets generously with salt and pepper.
In a large saute pan, add enough olive oil until it reaches about ⅛ inch of the side of the pan. Heat over high heat until oil starts to shimmer and pan is hot.
Carefully add each halibut fillet to the pan presentation side down, pressing down the flesh with a spatula to create a golden crust. Reduce heat to medium high and cook for 4-5 minutes.
When the bottom of your fish is golden brown, flip to the other side. Reduce heat to medium low and heat until cooked through, making sure not to over cook the fillets, about 2-4 minutes.
Transfer to a plate with a paper towel to remove some of the excess cooking oil. Serve with your butter sauce with herbs.