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Seared Halibut with Lemon Butter Sauce


At one time, I was intimidated by cooking fish. That changed when I learned the simple technique of searing fish on top of the stove and then slipping it into the oven to finish cooking. Another advantage is that you are free to prepare an accompanying sauce or a side dish or salad.

The sauce here is quickly made from simple ingredients. You will be amazed by the intensity and sophistication of the flavors. Believe it or not, sumptuous butter sauces can be part of the Wine and Food Lover’s Diet. The fatty acids in butter are not as damaging to heart health as previously believed and, when not eaten with enablers, can be a part of a healthful diet. Butter, as well as the fish, is a source of omega-3 fatty acids, which help improve cholesterol levels.

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  • 4 halibut fillets (about 5 ounces each)
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground white pepper
  • 3 tablespoons grapeseed oil
  • 1 shallot, finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup dry white wine
  • 1/4 cup cold unsalted butter, cut into cubes
  • 1 teaspoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground white pepper


Servings 4


Step 1

Preheat the oven to 300 degrees fahrenheit.

Pat the fillets dry with paper towels and lay them on a plate. Lightly season both sides with salt and pepper. In a large skillet over medium-high heat, heat the oil until very hot. Add the fillets and cook until light to medium brown on the first side, 2 to 3 minutes. Turn and cook until light brown on the second side, 2 to 3 minutes. Transfer to warmed plates and put in the oven to finish cooking while you make the sauce.


In a small saucepan over medium-high heat, combine the shallot and white wine. Bring to a boil and cook until the liquid is reduced to about 1 tablespoon, about 3 minutes. Reduce the heat to low and whisk in the butter, 1 or 2 cubes at a time. Adjust the heat if necessary so the butter melts but does not overheat and separate. Strain the sauce into a small bowl and whisk in the lemon juice, parsley, and salt and pepper to taste.

Remove the fillets from the oven, drizzle with the sauce, and serve.

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