Wild Alaska Halibut w/Lemon and Thyme Sauce

I would like to thank the Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute (ASMI) for reaching out to me through Foodiddy. They offered to send me different kinds of fish to help me in my quest to explore different recipes and cooking methods. After a few emails back and forth,  I received  the most incredible box of wild Alaska seafood, I could hardly contain myself.

I was overwhelmed by the size of the box and the amazing selection of fish.

Wild Alaska Salmon was the only thing I had previously cooked. I rifled through a stack of recipe cards I had gotten at the last Foodbuzz Festival in San Francisco and found the perfect recipe to try. Operation conquer my fear of cooking fish was once again underway.

Wild Alaska Seafood Quick Reference Guide

Alaska Seafood had a huge table at the Foodbuzz tasting pavilion event and I was able to sample quite a few things. I also picked up a quick reference guide that has a lot of nifty facts about the different species, cooking tips and harvesting information. We are towards the end of Wild Alaska Halibut season – it’s available fresh from March through mid November, but can be purchased frozen year-round. Are we really nearing November? Wow…

So back to the incredible wild caught Alaska Halibut…

Wild Alaska Halibut swim freely in Alaska’s pristine waters. Their abundance and sustainability is protected by law and the careful management practices of Alaska’s fishing families. Alaska Halibut is naturally lean and light, making it an excellent choice for me right now – I’ve been very conscious of the types of food I’ve been eating and trying to make the best choices to continue towards achieving an 80/20 healthy versus indulgent way of eating. I’ve given up on the idea that I need to be perfect.

The recipe I chose was Alaska Halibut with Lemon and Thyme Sauce – served on a bed of sauteed leeks, zucchini and spinach… and there just might have been some butter and wine in the mix. 80/20 people… 80/20. I made modifications to the recipe I found and those have been listed below in my ingredients and measurements.


2 Wild Alaska Halibut Fillets – mine were between 7 and 8 oz.
2 Tablespoons Butter
Finely Grated Zest and Juice of 1 Large Lemon
Salt and Freshly Ground Black Pepper
2 Teaspoons Dijon Mustard
6-8 sprigs of Fresh Thyme – the recipe called for lemon thyme, I already had regular
1-2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
2 Leeks – white and light green parts only
1 Zucchini
2-3 oz. Baby Spinach – could use more if you want
3-4 Tablespoons Dry White Wine – you could sub with vegetable broth/stock


  • Heat broiler/oven to medium-high heat 450 degrees F.
  • Rinse any ice glaze from frozen halibut under cold water; pat dry with paper towel.
  • Arrange fillets on a spray coated or foil lined baking sheet
  • Broil 5 to 7 inches from the heat source for about 5 minutes.
  • Remove fish from oven, and place 1/2 tablespoon butter on top of each fillet. Sprinkle with 2 teaspoons lemon juice, then season with salt and pepper.
  • Return fish to oven and cook an additional 4-6 minutes for fresh, 7 to 10 minutes for frozen fillets.
  • Cook just until fish is opaque throughout.
  • While the fish is cooking, add remaining butter to saucepan with the lemon zest, remaining lemon juice and Dijon mustard. Medium heat, gently whisking until melted, then add the fresh thyme.
  • Heat olive oil in a wok or large pan, cook the leeks and zucchini over medium heat until softened. Add the spinach and wine, stirring until the leaves have wilted.
  • Serve the fish and vegetables, pouring the warm lemon and thyme sauce over the fillets.

The pieces of halibut were gorgeous! I defrosted them in the fridge overnight and used paper towels to pat them dry.

I knew the fish would require my attention during the short broiling time, so I started all of my prep work before cooking the fish. I washed and sliced my leeks. I forget how much I really enjoy leeks in a dish. Sure, they take some time to rinse properly, but they are worth it for sure.

I first wash the leeks in their whole state, then I re-rinse in a strainer once they’ve been cut into rings. It’s important to separate the rings, because the silky dirt likes to hide between the layers.

I measured out my Dijon mustard and it wasn’t until this photo that I realized my Dijon was “hot” – which was surprising, because I don’t normally like super spicy stuff… but apparently this brand’s “hot” is not so hot in a good way… and one of my favorites right now.

I zested and juiced my lemon… I swear I can’t zest a lemon anymore without thinking of Michael Symon’s method from The Chew. I rarely stick with DVR-ing daily TV shows – but I enjoy The Chew – it’s my lunch time escape and he sure makes zesting a lemon look sexy. Never thought I’d say those two words in the same sentence. Sexy lemon ,va va voom!

I preheated my oven to 450 degrees F. and then realized that I really wanted to broil the fish, instead of baking the fish – the recipe was a tad confusing. So I switched my oven to broil once it had already reached 450 degrees F. Once again my fear kicked in. What if I torch the fish? Is it too close to the broiler? Door open? Door closed? Yes… all of these thoughts went through my head. I placed my foil lined baking sheet into the oven and crossed my fingers.

After 5 minutes under the broiler, I pulled them out to coat them with butter. I used 1/2 tablespoon on each fillet. I then added a teaspoon of lemon juice and  freshly ground sea salt and ground pepper to each fillet.

While the fish was broiling for an additional 4-5 minutes, I got the sauce started – butter, lemon zest, remaining lemon juice, mustard and thyme. I also got my vegetables going in another pan. Juggling all of the pans and cooking time was a tad difficult, but I managed.The end result was nothing short of fabulous. I am in love with Wild Alaska Halibut now. I’m guessing that might be a pretty expensive habit to have. Probably not a frequent thing with my grocery budget, but I am going to splurge when I can fit it in.


The warm lemon and thyme sauce poured over the fillet was incredible.

Dare I even say cooking fish is pretty darn easy? I can’t even begin to express how happy I am that I have another 16 oz. piece of Wild Alaska Halibut in my freezer as I type. Who’s coming to dinner?

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    • Pod on September 22, 2012 at 9:19 pm

    That really sounds wonderful. Halibut is/was one of my favorite types of fish. It’s been a long time since I have had it…my mouth started watering reading your blog….super job. xoxo

    • Mommers on September 22, 2012 at 9:19 pm

    Me, me…………please me…………..

    • Amy on September 23, 2012 at 8:51 am

    Looks Wonderful!!

    • michael garner on September 25, 2012 at 12:21 pm

    Sounds good. I do like halibut, but would rather have Black Cod. Question. You mentioned wine as an ingredient, but didn’t see what you did with it. In the sauce, I assume?

      • foodiddy on September 25, 2012 at 3:20 pm

      Whoops, I added it to the sauce and the zucchini, leek and spinach sauté. I’ve never had black cod, but look forward to trying it.

  1. Those were beautiful! Totally worth the splurge, in my opinion!

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