If you haven’t had halibut cheeks or heard of them you should change that now, especially if you are a seafood person. Being from Alaska and enjoying since I was little, I didn’t know many people are not even aware of these tasty gems from the ocean. Halibut cheeks are exactly what they sound like. You will find various sizes depending on the size of the halibut. You could have one the size of a scallop or the size or a hamburger patty. I would say they are tender, sweet and very flavorful. This popular delicacy is often in limited supply and hard to find. A quick google search I located suppliers who can overnight from $19.99 – 35.99/ pound.
I would describe the texture similar to crab with a taste that is a cross between lobster, scallops, and crab. It is elegant and luxurious. When I take a bite it just melts in my mouth, I close my eyes and mmmmmmm….it is that good. The best preparations should be simple as not to mask the flavor. Of course, I am a seafood purest not even wanting to “ruin” lobster with unneeded butter. Prepare as you would a scallop and you will have a winner. Last night I prepared the halibut cheeks with a simple lemon caper picatta sauce and pan fried. I served it with some crescent rolls and sautéed swiss chard made with garlic, white wine and shaved parmesan.
Extra Virgin Olive Oil (about 2 Tablespoons)
Butter (4 Tablespoons, divided)
1/2 cup flour (I used wheat flour)
1 teaspoon garlic sea salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper (freshly ground)
1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/4 cup chicken or vegetable broth
1/2 cup dry white wine
3 Tablespoons Lemon Juice
3 Tablespoons Capers
Rinse and pat dry your halibut cheeks. Dredge the cheeks in your coating mix. Heat a pan over medium heat with olive oil (I usually do about two times around the pan which is about 2 Tablespoons) and 2 Tablespoons of butter. When the butter-oil mix is bubbly and hot add your halibut cheeks. Cook until golden on each side, about 2-3 minutes per side. Remove and keep warm. You can either tent with foil or what I did was my oven was still hot after I took out my rolls. The oven was off but I placed the cheeks on a pan and covered with foil and just put in the oven as I finished the sauce.
To the pan add the broth and wine. Bring to a boil while stirring to pick up bits on the bottom of the pan. Lower the heat to simmer and let the liquid reduce to about half (4-5 minutes). Add the lemon juice, capers and 2 tablespoons butter. Stir until butter is melted and you are ready.
Serve the halibut cheeks with the sauce spooned over top.
This recipe will work with other delicate fish and thin chicken cutlets.