Last Updated on September 27, 2021
How to Roast Halibut – the perfect way to cook a special fish.
Skip straight to my recipe for pan roast halibut with prawns
Do you own favourite pans? I’ve just been sent one to review which I know will become an old favourite. I love cooking with cast iron and for years have wanted a two-handled skillet. Why? Well, it’s the perfect pan to make a special dish for one or two people, not least because it can be brought to the table. Samuel Groves has introduced a range of cast iron pans that are beautiful to look at and easy to cook with.
I’ve been trialling the 24cm two-handled skillet which works equally well on top of the stove and in the oven. Pan-frying fish and then transferring it into the oven to finish by roasting is a restaurant trick to finish thicker cuts of fish perfectly. Instead of flipping fish like halibut, you simply baste it with butter or olive oil and then pop it in the oven for 5-10 minutes (depending on the thickness of your fillet). For this particular dish, I wanted to add prawns and samphire to my roasted halibut – and I served the whole dish with braised fennel cooked in vermouth.
What to serve with such a delicious meal? White fish always pairs well with Sauvignon Blanc and I was sent a bottle of ‘Identity’ by South African winemakers Journey’s End to try. This is an accessible wine that you can now buy from Sainsburys or Asda for around £7.00. But, it punches above its price point in my view thanks to exemplary production techniques. Grapes come from three different vineyards and are handpicked in the morning to ensure that temperatures were cool enough to minimise the risk of oxidation and preserve the delicate fruit flavours. The wine is cold fermented at 12% to lock in freshness. Then, the wine is kept on the gross less for 5 months, before bottling. The result is a delicate straw coloured wine with a slightly green edge and a herby, lime, pear and apple nose. It’s really easy to drink and a great pairing with my roast halibut with prawns.
If you’d like to try this recipe yourself, you do need a pan that will work on the stovetop and in the oven. I’d recommend the Samuel Groves Britannia range – the 24cm pan is perfect for one or two and can be used on the stove, in the oven and even on a barbecue. There’s also a 20cm pan and a 28cm one and a set of matching sized long-handled frying pans. I’ll be collecting a few more sizes over the next few years.
In terms of ingredients, the list is really quite short. Apart from the fresh ingredients above, you’ll need a few storecupboard staples and either a glass of wine or vermouth. It’s a really easy dish to cook and should take you about 20 minutes from pan to plate.
Switch the oven on to pre-heat at 160C, then start by preparing and cooking the fennel because that will take the longest to cook. Carefully trim and slice the fennel as finely as you can and chop the shallot. Melt butter in a heavy-based pan and gently soften the shallot and fennel for 5 minutes. Then pour in the wine or vermouth and bring the mixture to a simmering point, before transferring to the oven.
Boil a kettle and blanch the samphire by covering it with boiling water and leaving for 2 – 3 minutes before draining.
Once the samphire is blanched and the fennel is in the oven, prepare the fish. Heat half a tablespoon of oil in your skillet and when the oil is hot, add the fish skin side down. Stir the remaining oil into the paprika and use the mixture to baste the fish. Once you’ve cooked the fish on the stove for 2-3 minutes, add the prawns and put the pan in the oven.
Cook for a further 5-10 minutes until the prawns are opaque and pink and the fish is cooked through. Stir the samphire into the pan so that it cooks in the residual heat for just a minute.
Dish out half the fennel into each bowl and top with samphire, prawns and a portion of fish. Garnish with any remaining fronds of fennel and serve with fresh lemon and a glass of Journey’s End Identity (or your own favourite dry white wine!)
Want to try for yourself. Here’s a printable version of my recipe for roast halibut with prawns and samphire.
How to roast white fish - pan-frying then roasting thicker fillets of fish is an easy way to produce chef style dishes at home
- 2 medium fillets of halibut around 175 grams each
- 100 grams samphire
- 2 banana shallots
- 1 large head of fennel
- 100 millilitres vermouth or white wine
- 1 table spoon olive oil
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- 10 grams butter
- 8 peeled prawns
- salt and pepper
Heat the oven to 160C fan or 170C
Prepare the fennel by trimming out the core and slicing the bulb as finely as possible
Peel and finely chop the shallots
Melt the butter in a heavy-based pan and stir through the fennel and shallots.
Cook gently on the hob for 5-10 minutes until both shallots and fennel have softened a little.
Pour in the wine or vermouth, bring to a gentle simmer and put the mixture into the oven
Put the samphire into a bowl of freshly boiled water and leave to blanch for 2-3 minutes before draining and putting to one side
Heat half a tablespoon of oil in the skillet until it is lightly smoking.
Add the fish and press down gently with a spatula for 10-15 seconds, then cook for a further few minutes.
Mix the remaining oil with the paprika and a little salt and pepper.
Pour it over the fish and baste well.
Add the prawns and put the skillet in the oven
Cook for 5-10 minutes until the fish and prawns are cooked through
Take out of the oven and stir through the samphire to cook in the residual heat
Put half the fennel mixture in each bowl and top with the fish and prawns
Garnish with fennel fronds and serve
Looking for something different? Try this delicious dish of halibut with a cream and asparagus champagne sauce