A large flatfish of the right-eye flounder family. They have a very mild, flaky, and extremely white flesh. It is abundant in Alaska and can be found fresh on most of the West coast and frozen elsewhere. The name is believed to come from haly (meaning holy) and butt (flat fish) for its popularity during Catholic holy days.


Translations: Paltuss, Otas, Iverak, Cá chim lớn, Heilbot, हलिबेट, Палтус, Ιππόγλωσσα, هلبوت سمك, 넙치, Semacam ikan pecak, 大比目鱼, Hipogloso, לשונן, Hälleflundra, Иверак, オヒョウ, Flétan, Heilbutt, Helleflynder, Kveite, Hipoglòs, Палтус, Ruijanpallas, Камбала

Physical Description

Halibut is the largest of the flatfish. The can grow to over 8 feet and 700 pounds. They are grayish-black on top with a white underbelly and have one eye on top and one on the underside like other flounder. The meat is very white.

Colors: Grayish-black on top with a white underbelly. The meat is snow white.

Tasting Notes

Flavors: delicate, sweet and "clean", requiring little seasoning when fresh
Mouthfeel: Dense and firm
Food complements: Lemon, Fresh and dried herbs such as dill, Basil, Tomato, Curries (thai and indian)
Wine complements: Chardonnay, Rose, Dry whites
Substitutes: Pacific cod, Cod, Turbot, Dogfish, Haddock, Striped bass

Selecting and Buying

Seasonality: january, february, march, april, may, june, july, august, september, opctober, november, december
Choosing: Select fish with a firm texture and clean white appearance.
Buying: Halibut is typically sold fresh and frozen in fletches, fillets or steaks.
Procuring: The Atlantic population has been severely depleted due to overfishing and has been declared an endangered species. Seafood Watch has recommended avoiding halibut caught in the Atlantic region and only eat the Pacific variety.

Preparation and Use

The firm texture make it a diverse fish with which to cook. It holds up well in fish soups and stews such as bouillabaise, cioppino and chowders. It is also great in curries. It's excellent grilled and served with fruit salsa (eg, mango salsa), deep fried as in fish and chips, poached in white wine or delicate broths, wrapped in parchment paper and baked, etc..

Cleaning: Briefly and gently rinse fresh fish under cold water and pat dry with clean paper towels.

Conserving and Storing

Fresh fish can be stored for no more than a couple of days in the refrigerator or a few weeks in the freezer if properly sealed (vacuum sealed is best).


Since the Atlantic variety was over-fished and is now near extinct it is best to avoid Atlantic halibut altogether, as is recommended by Seafood Watch. Pacific Halibut is best to eat.



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