Before the last of the sweet summer corn disappears from your farmer's market, grab a bag of fresh ears and make this gorgeous Alaskan halibut recipe. It's a luxurious tour of summer, all on one platter.
In the world of flaky white fish, halibut is one of my personal favorites. I find the taste of halibut to be a little sweeter than most white fish, very complementary to seafood partners like clams and crab. The texture is firmer than flounder or cod, but still flaky. It's a truly delicious fish.
This pan-seared halibut dish with creamy sweet corn is a fresh dish full of all our favorite summer flavors.
More About Halibut:
Alaskan halibut is a popular and highly sought-after species of flatfish found in the cold waters of the North Pacific, particularly in the coastal regions of Alaska.
- Halibut is one of the largest flatfish species, and it can reach impressive sizes. This huge fish can measure up to 8 feet in length and weigh over 500 pounds when fully grown. Most halibut caught by Alaskan fishermen (that end up in your local market or restaurant) weight in around 20 to 50 pounds.
- Halibut are known for their distinctive body shape, which is flat and compressed. They have both eyes on one side of their body, which is usually the upper side. The lower side, which faces the ocean floor, is typically white or light-colored, while the upper side can vary from dark brown to olive-green.
- Alaskan halibut is a popular food fish due to its mild, delicate flavor and firm texture. It is an excellent source of high-quality protein, and it is also low in fat, making it a healthy choice as part of a balanced diet.
- Alaskan halibut is a delicious and versatile fish that can be prepared in a variety of ways, including grilling, baking and pan-searing. Halibut can even be used as the base for a fresh fish ceviche. As with all delicate white fish, it's important to not overcook halibut, as it can become dry and lose its natural sweetness. The fish is cooked when it turns opaque and easily flakes with a fork.
What you'll need to make fresh Alaskan halibut with sweet corn ragout:
- Alaskan halibut fillets: the star of our show! Halibut is harder to come by in Portugal, but most US markets will carry it. I have found that frozen halibut retains a good amount of moisture, so if you're using frozen, be sure to thaw overnight in the refrigerator and give your fish fillets time to dry on a rack over a baking sheet.
- Fresh corn: our recipe co-star-in-chief! I love cutting fresh corn straight off the cob for this recipe, scraping the cob to extract as much creamy milk as possible. But if you're in the dead of winter and desperate for a taste of summer, grab a bag of frozen corn at the market and start searing!
- Seasonings: sea salt, black pepper and smoked paprika are all you need for this easy recipe!
- Butter: the perfect creamy touch for our easy halibut recipe. Substitute extra virgin olive oil, if needed.
- Scallions and cilantro: green onions and fresh corn are a match made in great recipe heaven. Substitute chives, leeks or shallots. Cilantro adds the perfect touch of herby freshness to the finished dish. Sub chives or parsley.
- Vegan Spanish chorizo (optional): I don't use a lot of vegan / vegetarian meat alternatives, but vegan chorizo is a notable exception. I find it to add a complex, smoky flavor and a rich color to any dish it's added to. If you're cooking for non-pescatarians, feel free to use regular Spanish chorizo. If you're skipping the chorizo altogether, add 1 teaspoon of smoked paprika and an extra 2 garlic cloves to the creamy corn mixture.
- Fresh garlic: as usual, spring for fresh garlic cloves instead of the pre-minced variety in jars. The flavor is significantly improved! Substitute shallots, if needed.
- Heavy cream: makes our creamy corn even creamier and dreamier. This dish isn't swimming in cream, just enough to hold it together and create a sweet and savory sauce.
- Fresh lime: we use lime zest in our sweet corn, then serve wild Alaska halibut recipe with lime wedges. Substitute lemon zest and lemon wedges, if you like.
Full ingredient list and measurements included in the printable recipe card below.
Step by step instructions for making pan seared halibut:
To begin, make the creamy corn. Melt butter in skillet over medium heat. Add scallions, garlic and diced vegan chorizo. Saute for 2-3 minutes, until fragrant.
Add corn, salt and pepper. Cook for another 2-3 minutes, until corn is warmed through. (If your fresh corn was very juicy, you won't need any liquid yet. If your pan seems dry, add a few tablespoons of water or stock).
Remove from the heat, add the cream, lime zest and diced cilantro. Stir to combine. Cover and set aside.
Thoroughly dry halibut fillets with paper towels or a tea towel. Sprinkle fish directly with salt, pepper and smoked paprika. Dust lightly in flour. (For this recipe, I prefer to season the fish directly instead of mixing the seasoning into the flour. I found this method to create a more savory fish without requiring too much flour.)
Heat large skillet over medium high heat. Add butter. Once the pan is hot, place seasoned halibut fillets in the pan and sear on medium high for 3-4 minutes, until golden brown.
Flip and cook for additional 2 minutes, or until fillets are cooked through. (Cook times will vary based on the thickness of your fillets. Monitor and test fillets for doneness. Fish is cooked at an internal temperature of about 140℉ because the fish will continue to cook as it rests).
Before serving, taste creamy corn mixture and adjust seasoning. To serve family-style, pour the creamy corn onto a serving plate.
Place pan-seared halibut fillets around the platter. Garnish with cilantro leaves and lime wedges.
Serve with crusty bread and a simple green salad for the perfect taste of summer.
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FAQ's and Serving Suggestions:
If fresh halibut is available and reasonably priced, go for the fresh fish for best results. But frozen halibut also works. Just be sure to thaw the fish overnight in the refrigerator. To help extract water, lay the thawed fish fillets on a rack over a baking sheet and let as much water drain from them as possible, before using paper towels to dry thoroughly and season.
Cod and sea bass fillets are my favorite substitutes for this recipe. However, if you can find black cod, that would be especially delicious. If you have a bag of frozen haddock or tilapia hiding in your freezer, that will work in a pinch.
The halibut and corn main dish is delicious with a simple Tossed Salad and crusty baguette for that creamy corn ragout.
Fresh Italian (flat leaf) parsley or chives would be delicious.
Many grocery stores will carry a vegetarian or vegan cured sausage in the organic / vegetarian section. If you're not pescatarian, regular cured Spanish chorizo works beautifully. You only need ⅓ cup of diced chorizo. If neither is an option, just add 1 teaspoon of smoked paprika and a couple of extra minced garlic cloves (or ¼ teaspoon garlic powder) to give the creamy corn similar flavor notes as the Spanish chorizo.
A pinch of red pepper flakes or a finely diced jalapeno cooked with the garlic and scallions will add a warm heat to the dish. Or, if you're like me and hot pepper sauce is always in the on-deck circle, serve your platter of seafood and corn with your favorite bottle of hot sauce.
To store, I prefer to store the fish in a separate container than the creamy corn. Keep each in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 days. To reheat, gently warm over medium low in a saucepan until heated through. Add a few tablespoons of stock or water, or a tablespoon butter when reheating to reconstitute the creamy corn, if needed.Print