This halibut is a one pan, 30 minute, creamy dream. I have meant to blog this recipe since the inception of Set the Net but darn it photographing white food is tricky for me at best and I wanted to do a half way decent job at selling this meal with photos.
If you are a reluctant fish purchaser, take home fisherman, or home cook for fear of the dreaded dry fish dish or “fish smell” this recipe is a great place to start. Your home will smell amazing while it is cooking and the moisture content of this dish is top notch. It is a great dinner party or weeknight meal as it comes together in 10 minutes and is done in 30, serve it up with a salad and you have a delectable, decadent meal.
I know there have been several halibut posts of late, but it’s the season across Alaska and especially here is in Bristol Bay. And really, what better time to try new recipes than at the height of freshness?!
Halibut also stores exceptionally well in the freezer. It is best practice to remove the gills, guts, blood line, and gonads from a halibut as soon as possible after catch, and to put the halibut into pack ice until you can fillet and freeze what you will not use within a week. Icing your catch immediately helps prevent gaping in the flesh of your fillets and helps retain freshness and quality of your home pack. A good rule of thumb is to have at least six inches of ice in the bottom of your cooler or fish tote before the first fish goes in with at least 2 – 5 inches of ice between each fish and on top of the final load. Fish kept in pack ice can easily last up to three days if gutted and cleaned properly prior to filleting. There is a bevy of excellent You Tube videos out there showing methods of cleaning and filleting halibut to reduce waste and hone your skills. Once filleted out, I love to use the halibut backbone and carcass to make stock for fishermen’s stew and to bake the head whole plucking the tidbits of juicy flesh off the bones and collar hot from the oven.
Fresh off the dock or thawed from the freezer this halibut dish demands repeating.
Parmesan Cream Halibut (serves 4 with a side salad, Total Time 30 min.)
- 1 & 1/2 lbs Wild Alaskan Halibut portions
- 1 large yellow onion
- 3 tablespoons butter
- 2 teaspoons Bay seasoning
- 1 cup sour cream
- 1/3 cup good quality mayonnaise
- 4 cloves garlic
- 1 & 1/2 teaspoons smoked paprika + more for sprinkling
- parmesan cheese for topping (approx. 3/4 cup)
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Peel then slice onion in half, then into very thin strips. In a 10 in. enameled cast iron skillet* melt butter and sauté sliced onions over medium heat stirring occasionally until reduced and translucent. While onions sauté, skin halibut fillets and trim so no section is greater than an inch thick. The goal is to have consistent thickness once portions are placed into the pan – this is achieved nicely by trimming and then layering scraps to create uniformity.
Once onions are translucent remove pan from heat and layer halibut portions and trimmings into pan so fish is an inch thick throughout. Season halibut by sprinkling with Bay seasoning. Crush garlic cloves into a medium sized bowl, then whip together the garlic, sour cream, mayonnaise, and 1 & 1/2 tsp. smoked paprika until combined. Spoon mixture evenly across halibut and smooth.
Shred parmesan cheese generously over cream sauce topping (approx 3/4 cup) and sprinkle with additional smoked paprika. Place pan into preheated oven and baked for 20 minutes. Serve fish hot from the oven.
*Any 10 inch oven safe skillet or non-enameled cast iron is acceptable here, but be aware regardless of how well seasoned the cast iron pan is, it can/will cast a gray pallor to cream based dishes not affecting taste but appearance!