Provençale Style Halibut

Author: Jennifer Schell  •  Date: March 17, 2014  •  Appears in: Recipe

Provençale Style Halibut

There is nothing more delicious than tucking into a freshly caught fish.  Thanks to modern transportation services and dedicated fishmongers and chefs, we are able to enjoy this luxury almost anywhere! Pacific halibut has always been a favorite for white fish lovers because of its mild flavour and rich texture.  It is also extremely versatile and can be prepared many different ways.  I love it simply baked topped with a garlic mayonnaise, pesto or a mixture of panko with a touch of olive oil and lime zest. The topping is great way to keep the moisture in as this delicate fish does dry out quickly.  Trick: when the cooking time is almost up, take a peek.  If the centre of the fish is still a little opaque, remove it - it will continue cooking outside the oven to perfection.  Because of its dense texture and ability to hold its shape, halibut also makes for a decadent fish & chip option over cod and it is delicious in curries and fish stews.

Soil Mate Jennifer Schell Halibut Fishing Local Food
Editor, Jennifer Schell catches a Halibut

Please purchase your halibut from your trusted local fishmonger - one who sells only sustainable seafood.  It is crucial for consumers to make informed decisions when it comes to purchasing fish and seafood.  Many would be horrified knowing that the farmed shrimp they bought at the supermarket was grown in a toxic sewer in Asia! Not only to protect our own health, we must protect the health of our oceans that are being depleted by overfishing.

When it comes to purchasing halibut, make sure that you are buying wild halibut that has been caught by hook and line.  That means pole caught by a fisherman instead of the dreaded net dragging that captures many other creatures that are mostly discarded.  Halibut are bottom dwellers and like to bury themselves into the sand of the seafloor so fisherman will drop lines the bottom and troll along attracting them with the smell of bait.

Why bottom trawling is bad:

Weird but cool halibut fact:

When halibut are born its eyes are on both sides of its head, but after about 6 months one eye migrates to the other side of its head, making it look more like the flounder. Not the prettiest fish around, but it is delicious!

For more information on Pacific halibut and halibut fishing go to:

Provençale Style Halibut

This French country inspired dish is absolutely gorgeous and very easy to prepare – enjoy.

Serves 4

4 skinless halibut fillets

1 small onion, quartered and thinly sliced

2 garlic cloves, chopped

1/2 cup dry white wine or rosé

1 small jar marinated artichoke hearts rinsed

1 (15-oz) can chopped or stewed tomatoes

1/3 cup pitted Kalamata olives, chopped

2/3 cup water

salt and pepper

1 tablespoon unsalted cold butter, cut into bits

1 teaspoon finely grated fresh orange or lemon zest


Sauté onion in olive oil in a heavy saucepan over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until softened and golden.   Add the garlic and cook, stirring, 1 minute, add wine and boil 1 minute, add artichoke hearts, tomatoes (including juice), olives, water, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper and bring to a simmer, uncovered and stir occasionally. Pat fish dry and sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Transfer sauce to a ceramic baking dish and arrange fish over sauce trying not to crowd them. Dot fish with butter and cover dish tightly with foil. Roast until fish is just opaque and cooked through, 15-20 minutes.

Sprinkle with some orange or lemon zest on fish before you serve in shallow bowls with some crusty bread to sop up the tasty broth.

Jennifer Schell


Jennifer Schell is a respected columnist and editor of B.C. Food & Wine Trails Magazine. She is the author of current bestselling cookbook, The Butcher, The Baker, The Wine & Cheese Maker – An Okanagan Cookbook, winner of that Gourmand World Cookbook Award for Best Local Cuisine Book, Canada and shortlisted to win Best in the World. Born and raised on an apple orchard in East Kelowna, Jennifer is a passionate supporter of BC’s vibrant farming, food and wine industry and has provided a creative lens inside the Valley’s magical landscape and its people.
Read more by Jennifer Schell

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