Pan-Seared Halibut

halibut with pear gastrique

Although there apparently isn’t a distinct halibut season, the first half of summer is when these wonderful fish seem to be most abundant. So around this time, I can grab some fresh halibut, and you can bet it’s headed for my plate, pronto.

Halibut is a firm white fish with a mild flavor, which makes it perfect for pan searing and it works well with a light fruity gastrique and the earthy flavor of chopped fresh Brussels sprouts sauteed with bacon and shallots. For this recipe, I made the gastrique using pear nectar and topped it with slices of pear that were sauteed in a little butter. 

The dish is simple and easy to prepare. The fresh ingredients are what makes it sing.

The recipe serves four, but it’s easily adjusted up or down.

Pan-Seared Halibut
Serves 4
Fresh, wild-caught halibut, pan seared and served over sauteed brussel sprouts and topped with sliced sauteed pears and a pear gastrique.
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  1. 3/4 cup white wine vinegar
  2. 2-3 Tbsp. water
  3. 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  4. 1/2 cup pear nectar
Brussels Sprouts
  1. 2 medium shallots, coarsely chopped
  2. 2-3 slices bacon
  3. 4 cups chopped brussels sprouts
  1. Four six-ounce halibut fillets
  2. Finely ground flour (pan-searing flour or Wondra)
  3. Grapeseed oil (or other high temperature oil)
  1. To make the gastrique, add the water and sugar to a heavy bottom sauce pan and heat over medium heat without stirring until the sugar just begins to turn a light brown caramel color.
  2. Add the vinegar all at once, being careful of any splatter (the sugar is very hot).
  3. Stir until the sugar remelts and the mixture is smooth, then add the pear nectar. Reduce heat and continue cooking until the liquid is reduced by about half and coats the back of a spoon.
  4. Meanwhile, peel, core and slice a large d'anjou pear. Slices should be about 1/8 inch thick. Saute the slices in a tablespoon or two of butter until soft and set aside.
Brussels Sprouts
  1. Cut the bacon into matchstick-like pieces and fry until almost crispy.
  2. Add the shallots and saute until translucent.
  3. Add the brussels sprouts and cook until tender, adding a little olive oil, if necessary.
  4. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  1. Heat enough olive oil over a moderately high setting in a heavy frying pan. Use just enough oil to just cover the bottom of the pan.
  2. Season the filets with a little salt and pepper and dredge in the pan-searing flour.
  3. Working in batches of one or two, sear each filet top and bottom until they have a nice golden brown crust.
  4. Add all the filets back to the pan and cook over medium heat until the flesh is opaque and just begins to flake.
  5. For each plate, start with a mound of brussels sprouts, top that with a halibut filet, followed by pear slices.
  6. Drizzle the gastrique over the halibut and sprouts.
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