Similar to scallops, halibut cheeks are firm but tender and luxuriously butter-sweet. Here, they’re pan-seared to crispy perfection and finished with a tomato-studded pan sauce. The recipe halves nicely to serve 2 (use a medium skillet), but because our halibut cheeks come in 1-pound pouches, you’ll have to thaw the entire package. Use what you like and save the rest for another preparation—within 24 hours.
1 pound halibut cheeks
Salt and freshly ground pepper
All-purpose flour for dusting (optional)
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 small shallot, finely chopped (about ¼ cup)
1½ cups halved grape or cherry tomatoes (or ½ cup drained canned diced tomatoes)
¼ cup dry white wine
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons chopped fresh tender herbs such as flat-leaf parsley, cilantro, or dill
Sautéed zucchini and buttered pasta for serving
Cook the Fish
Pat the fish dry with paper towels. Season lightly with salt and pepper, then dust lightly with flour, tapping off the excess.
In a large nonstick skillet, heat the oil over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add the halibut cheeks and cook until golden, 3 to 4 minutes. Turn and cook until opaque, 2 to 3 minutes longer, depending on thickness. Transfer the halibut cheeks to a plate and tent loosely to keep warm.
Make the Sauce
Reduce the heat to medium and add the shallot to the skillet. Cook, stirring occasionally, just until browned in spots, about 2 minutes. Add the tomatoes and cook just until softened, 1 to 2 minutes. Add the wine and ¼ cup water. Increase the heat to high and cook until the liquid is reduced by about half, 2 to 3 minutes. Reduce the heat to low, add the butter and cook, swirling the pan, until melted. Season with salt and pepper.
Finish and Serve
Return the fish to the skillet along with any accumulated juices and turn to coat in the sauce. Divide the halibut cheeks between 4 plates and sprinkle with the herbs. Serve with sautéed zucchini and buttered pasta.
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Pair it Up
Look for a medium-bodied white wine with some acidity to balance the richness of this herb-infused butter sauce. Sauvignon blanc from California or Argentina is always a great choice.
Change It Up
This preparation works well with halibut or salmon fillets, any white fish, and, of course, scallops.