Halibut Karista's Kitchen Seafood

Halibut Montalcino

halibut with fennel, orange and green olives

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It’s officially halibut season here in the Pacific Northwest.  One of my favorite spring milestones – when the halibut is fresh and sweet and beautifully abundant at the fish markets.   The texture is firm but flaky and moist when cooked; and the meat is sweet and mild.

Last year I developed this lovely little recipe for DaVinci Wine after my glorious visit to Tuscany.  It pairs perfectly with the DaVinci Pinot Grigio.

This is a fish dish that can be prepared quickly for a weeknight meal.  Just have all your ingredients prepped and ready to go and the dish will be done in less than 30 minutes.

It’s also a dish that is easily adjusted to preference.  Maybe you prefer more fennel and less olives? Or maybe you prefer more orange zest and an added squeeze of orange juice.  However you prepare this dish, it will be fresh and flavorful and delight the palate.

Halibut Montalcino

Serves 2 (can be easily doubled)


¾ -1lb Halibut (thinner filet’s if you can find them as they are easier to pan sear), or your favorite firm white fish, cut into two pieces or 4 smaller pieces for ease of cooking.

Salt and fresh cracked black pepper

1 tablespoon clarified butter with 1 tablespoon olive oil

1-2 tablespoons unsalted butter

1 fennel bulb, thinly sliced

1 orange, zested

1 medium clove garlic, finely minced

Handful of sliced green olives

2 tablespoons of mixed chopped Italian parsley and fresh thyme

¼ cup dry white wine (I used the DaVinci Pinot Grigio)


Season the halibut filet’s with salt and freshly cracked black pepper.

Heat a large non-stick or fish friendly skillet over medium high heat and add the butter and oil, combining the two as the butter melts.

When the butter/oil is hot but not smoking, add the halibut filets flesh side down.  Let the filets cook in the pan for about 5 minutes or until the flesh side down has formed a nice golden brown crust and comes off the pan easily.

Flip the fish to skin side down and finish cooking, turning the heat down to medium if needed.  Fish typically cooks 10 minutes for every inch of thickness.  This is true for most medium to thick fleshed fish such as halibut, salmon, swordfish, etc.

When the fish is done, transfer to a platter and keep warm.

Over medium to medium high heat, add the unsalted butter to the fish pan and let it melt.  Add the sliced fennel bulb and allow it to caramelize a bit, turning golden brown.  Just before the fennel is done, add the garlic and cook for one minute longer.

Stir in the ¼ cup of white wine and chopped fresh herbs.  Let the wine reduce by half and then add the orange zest and green olives.

Hold the skillet over the heat just until the mixture is warmed through, season the mixture with additional salt and pepper to taste and add one more pat of butter.  Let the butter melt and then divide the fennel mixture onto two plates.

Top the fennel mixture with a piece of halibut and garnish with additional chopped Italian parsley and orange zest.

Serve with a side of fresh pasta tossed in olive oil, crushed red pepper, garlic and parmesan and a glass of DaVinci Pinot Grigio.


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  • Reply
    March 18, 2014 at 10:37 am

    Off to Gemini for me! This looks absolutely delicious!

    • Reply
      March 18, 2014 at 10:44 am

      Thank you Heidi! I hope you love it 🙂

  • Reply
    kelley {mountain mama cooks}
    March 18, 2014 at 12:25 pm

    Love this! I made halibut tacos today as I found some at my local Whole Foods this weekend. It was so flakey and perfect. The fennel and olives sounds amazing!

    • Reply
      March 20, 2014 at 8:34 am

      Thank you Kelley! I adore halibut tacos! Probably one of my absolute fave. Wishing you a Happy First Day of Spring!!

  • Reply
    Coco in the Kitchen
    March 18, 2014 at 1:12 pm

    Love the name and halibut. That crispiness is irresistible.
    I have a hard time finding halibut out our way, for some reason.
    Will have to be on the look-out.

    • Reply
      March 20, 2014 at 8:36 am

      Hi Coco, Thank you! I know halibut live in the North Pacific and the North Atlantic. They’re a type of flounder so if you can find a flounder or other sweet firm white fish that would also work. Happy Spring!

  • Reply
    Barb @ Profitetoles & Ponytails
    March 18, 2014 at 2:28 pm

    Montacino is one of my favorite places in Italy , so how could I not love this dish? The olives and orange flavour combination sounds heavenly-/especially paired with wine!

    • Reply
      March 20, 2014 at 8:37 am

      Thanks for stopping by Barb!! How are those darling Ponytails?
      Yes, the flavors of this dish blend beautifully together… so much that I swear I could lick the plate. 🙂 Happy Spring!

  • Reply
    March 18, 2014 at 5:55 pm

    What a gorgeous fish dish!

    • Reply
      March 20, 2014 at 8:38 am

      Thank you! Happy Spring!

  • Reply
    Karen (Back Road Journal)
    March 19, 2014 at 5:19 am

    I think fennel and seafood are a great match of flavors. Your halibut sounds wonderful.

    • Reply
      March 20, 2014 at 8:38 am

      I agree Karen. I’ve always loved fennel with seafood, even more so than with pork. I do love a good halibut recipe 🙂 Happy Spring!

  • Reply
    March 21, 2014 at 4:49 am

    Delicious! Love that crust Karista! I know I’ve mentioned it before, but there’s no doubt anyone would yearn for springtime looking at your beautiful dish. 🙂

    • Reply
      March 21, 2014 at 10:40 am

      Thank you lovely lady! I do love halibut, especially when it’s fresh and first of the season. 🙂

  • Reply
    March 22, 2014 at 2:27 pm

    Perfect crust on that gorgeous white flaky fish. I love this provencal blend… or Montalcino:) x

    • Reply
      March 25, 2014 at 4:34 pm

      Thank you Wendy! I do love a good crust on my fish 🙂

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