Falling for fish

October 17, 2000

Falling for fish

The Associated Press

Fresh seafood is often associated with the summer months, but several varieties of fish, including halibut and sea bass, are at their best in October.


Executive chef Paul Katz of McCormick & Schmick's restaurant in Chicago is aware of this: Look no further for encouragement than Sauted Halibut with Citrus Butter Sauce, the quickly made dish he created for home cooks. Estimated preparation and cooking time is 22 minutes.

"The peak season for several varieties of fish, including halibut, Chilean sea bass and Massachusetts striped bass is actually in the fall," Katz said.

"White fish such as halibut, sea bass and tilapia are naturally flavorful, so simple preparation is best," Katz said. He suggests pairing any of these fish with butter and freshly squeezed lemon juice. The butter enhances the fish's flavor, he says, while lemon or lime add a tangy citrus accent.


His choice for an accompanying vegetable with the halibut dish? Steamed green beans would be ideal, he says. Carrots, couscous or rice are also compatible side dishes.

Sauteed Halibut with Citrus Butter Sauce

  • 1 1/2 pounds fresh halibut filets, about 3/4 inch to 1 inch thick
  • salt
  • pepper
  • flour
  • 1/2 cup (4 ounces) clarified butter
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup fresh orange juice
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 1 tablespoon minced parsley

Lightly season halibut filets to taste with salt and pepper. Lightly coat with flour. In large skillet, heat butter over medium heat until hot, watching carefully so it does not burn. Add fish to skillet and cook over high heat until tender, about 4 to 5 minutes on each side. Place fish on a platter and keep warm in low oven.

Add juices and parsley to butter in skillet. Cook over medium heat, 2 to 3 minutes. Drizzle over halibut.

Serves 4.

To make clarified butter: Melt 5 sticks of butter over moderate heat. Stir butter but don't let boil, to allow milk solids to separate from liquid butter. As it heats, butter will separate into three distinct layers: foamy milk solids on top, clarified butter in the middle and milk solids on the bottom.

As butter continues to warm, skim all froth from surface and discard. Carefully pour off clear, melted clarified butter into another container, leaving milk solids at the bottom of the saucepan. Discard milk solids.

Clarified butter can be used immediately or kept in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to about four weeks. Remelt to use.

Makes 1 pound clarified butter.

- Recipes from American Butter Institute

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