Hey there, fellow seafood lovers! Today, I want to talk about one of my favorite fish – halibut. Halibut are one of the largest flatfish, found primarily in the Pacific Ocean. They have a unique appearance, with both eyes on the upper, dark side of their body, blending in with a sandy or muddy bottom.
Before we dive into how to fillet and cook halibut, let's talk about their life cycle. Most male halibut are mature by about 8 years of age, while females reach maturity around age 12. Halibut spawn during the period November through March, with females releasing anywhere from a few thousand to several million eggs, depending on their size. As the larvae mature, they move higher in the water column and ride the surface currents to shallower, more nourishing coastal waters.
Halibut feed on plankton during their first year of life, then move on to small shrimp-like crustaceans and small fish. Female halibut grow faster and reach larger sizes than male halibut. They typically inhabit waters between 20 and 1,000 ft, but have been found at depths up to 3,600 ft.
Now, let's move on to the fun stuff – how to fillet and cook halibut! Filleting halibut can be a bit tricky, but with the right equipment and technique, it's easy to do. Here's a step-by-step guide on how to fillet halibut:
Sharp Fillet Knife
Cutting Board / Area
Start at the tail and cut following along the top side of the backbone towards the head.
Now simply cut the top fillet away! Keep the knife blade close to the bone.
Voila, fillet #1 is done!
Before cutting out the second fillet, use your fingers to determine where the stomach ends, and then cut a line perpendicular to the backbone just downstream (towards the tail) of that point.
Be careful to cut as close as possible without nicking the stomach.
Now cut out the second fillet.
Separate the top from the bottom by cutting along the spine.
Remove the top fillet.
Separate the bottom fillet from the stomach area.
Remove the bottom fillet.
And just like that, you've got four delicious halibut fillets! But wait, there's more – don't forget about the cheeks! Removing the cheeks is easy – just follow these steps:
Cut along the jawbone to remove the cheek.
Flip the fish over and repeat on the other side.
Now that you've got your halibut fillets and cheeks, it's time to cook them up! Here's a simple recipe that's sure to please:
Grilled Halibut with Lemon and Herb Butter
4 halibut fillets (6-8 oz each)
Salt and pepper to taste
4 tbsp unsalted butter, softened
1 tbsp chopped fresh parsley
1 tbsp chopped fresh chives
1 tbsp chopped fresh tarragon
1 lemon, cut into wedges
Preheat grill to medium-high heat.
Season halibut fillets with salt and pepper.
In a small bowl, mix together butter, parsley, chives, and tarragon.
Grill halibut fillets for 3-4 minutes on each side, or until cooked through and grill marks appear.
Remove halibut fillets from the grill and place each fillet on a serving plate.
Top each fillet with a generous spoonful of the herb butter.
Serve with lemon wedges on the side for squeezing over the top of the fish.
Enjoy your delicious Grilled Halibut with Lemon and Herb Butter! (add some capers....wow!)
Don't have a full kitchen on the boat? If you want a fresh catch on the skillet that's simple, smother the fillets in mayo and top it with cheddar cheese. Salt and pepper to taste. Yum!