Pan Seared Halibut with Huckleberry Reduction and Hazelnut Brown Butter Sauce

The last of the season!  :(

Fresh Wild Alaskan Halibut season generally runs for 8 months, from March through November.

One of our favorite types of fish, halibut has a mild flavor, it is firm in texture, and difficult to overcook. Many people who don't like other fish simply adore halibut for those reasons.

When our fish purveyor featured these beautiful portions of fresh Halibut, I could not pass them up. The only dilemma was how to prepare them for the close of the season.

In the summer we love it simply grilled with salt and pepper, and maybe a squeeze of lemon, lime, or served with a warm  lemon-caper-butter sauce.

But because this is farewell to fresh halibut until next spring, when the season opens again, I wanted to do something a little more special.  Something that combined the flavors of the Pacific Northwest... because that's where I am. :)

I happened to have some fresh, slightly tart huckleberries on hand, and  I always keep Oregon Hazelnuts in the freezer, so I devised this recipe (actually a non-recipe), which we thoroughly enjoyed.

My apologies in advance... for those who know me or follow my blog, you know as many times as not, I'll just line up my ingredients and begin cooking without a recipe, just an idea in my head. That TRULY is the pleasure of cooking for me ~ the creative aspect of using what I have on hand, and not being tied to a recipe.

That is the case with this dish... I can describe how I made it, but there are no exact measurements ~ have fun and prepare it to taste, and in the proportions to fit your family.

Here is how I arrived at this dish ( a serving for two):

Two serving size pieces of  fresh halibut
Generous 1/4 cup Huckleberries -or other berry of your choice-
(Plus extra berries for garnish)
Hazelnuts -or other tree nut of your choice-
A tiny bit of sweetener (agave, honey, sugar)- depending upon tartness of berries
Olive Oil & Butter
Salt and Pepper

Step 1.  Make the Huckleberry -or other berry- reduction.
A generous 1/4 cup of fresh huckleberries with a couple of tablespoons of water and a little agave syrup (or sugar), to ease some the the tartness of the berries ~ not to make the sauce sweet. Bring ingredients to a boil, then reduce heat to medium low to reduce amount by nearly half. Stir occasionally. Keep warm.

Step 2. Rinse halibut, blot excess moisture off ~ salt and pepper, and dust with all-purpose flour. Tap off excess flour. Heat equal amounts of oil and butter in a frying pan over medium - high heat until melted and almost sizzling.  

Add halibut to the pan (don't crowd), allow to cook on one side for a few minutes (about 3 to 5 minutes, depending upon the thickness of fish.)  Turn once and cook other side until fish is just firm when you press down upon it. (Again about 3 to 5 minutes.) 

Remove fish to warm serving plates or a platter.  Cover loosely with foil and keep warm.

Step 3. Add another tablespoon or two of butter to the same pan, allowing it to melt, stirring to scrape up any bits from interior bottom of pan. Add chopped hazelnuts (or walnuts, almonds, pecans, etc.) and allow to cook, stirring frequently to avoid scorching either the nuts or the butter.  

When butter is golden in color but not burned, remove pan from heat and keep warm.

Step 4. Drizzle the warm berry reduction on warm plates, arrange seared halibut on top. Spoon the warm hazelnut brown butter over all,  garnish with additional fresh berries, and serve right away.

Because I wanted the flavor of the fish and sauces to shine and take center stage, I didn't want any competition from the vegetable, so I served raw baby pea shoots alongside.  It turned out to be an excellent combination of flavors.   Lightly sauteed baby spinach and steamed rice would make good accompaniments as well.

If you would like a printable copy of this "non-recipe", you'll find it on my recipe blog. Click HERE

If you try this,  I hope you enjoy it!

Thank you for stopping by today, friends.
I hope you're having a wonderful weekend.


  1. that looks fantastic, and so artistic~ my favorite fish for all the reasons you mentioned. i have a new recipe i want to try out too, but i can see the rest of my year is stuck cooking the books, i can't wait until jan 1st when i become a free woman again!

  2. Beautiful presentation & photos~ it looks mouth watering!

  3. funny I almost posted a very similar dish on a bed of potatoes..but my photos did not do the dish justice..even J said so..but we would have had nearly the same dish:) Beautiful photos.

  4. Beautiful photos Mary. We had halibut for dinner last night too. I'm always a little sad when Halibut season comes to an end. But I refuse to give up Halibut so I'll buy flash frozen at sea halibut for the next four months.


  5. Love this 'non-recipe' and that's just the way I cook, too!

  6. A non-recipe is always the best kind.
    It teaches people how to cook rather than how to follow.
    Halibut is my favorite too.

  7. I drooled the entire time I was reading your blog....I just adore it! Your recipes are amazing and your photos are out of this world!
    Ma TK

  8. OMG! I stumbbled upon your blog through Becky's. My family loves halibut and wild king salmon. We have ours shipped from Alaska. They are still available but frozen, and they are just as good. I never did mine this quite fancy I will bookmark this page to prepare it this way. Thanks.

    Everything looks so delicious here!


Thank you for your comments, friends ~ they make my day!

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