Frying Halibut: It's Worth the Calories

Frying Halibut: It's Worth the Calories

When it comes to fried fish, halibut is considered king by just about every chef. It’s incredibly low fat content keeps it light while its density allows it to hold up well to high heat without falling apart. This coupled with the fact that it’s mild in flavor and therefore adapts well to just about any seasoning makes halibut one of the best fish for frying: fish and chips anyone?   

To fry halibut, start by preparing a breading mix or wet batter. For the former, a mix of extra-dry breadcrumbs, hard, grated cheese and any number of seasonings is ideal; however, flour can be used in place of or in addition to the breadcrumbs. For a wet batter, a combination of flour, baking soda and a fizzy liquid, such as beer or club soda, tends to produce the best texture. Despite this, just like with any other cooking method, you really can go crazy with the breading. After all, this is most of the flavor will come from. When it comes to specific seasonings, try cumin, chili powder and red pepper flakes for a spicy kick, or old bay seasoning and lemon zest for a more traditional fried fish dish.

Outside of the breading, the most important part of frying halibut is the oil you use and how hot you get it. Believe it or not, certain types of oil can (and will) burn, and burnt oil means burnt-tasting halibut. Avoid olive and sesame oils, as these rarely make it past 300 degrees Fahrenheit without developing a nasty aftertaste. Instead, opt for canola, peanut or sunflower oil: these can handle high heat and are relatively mild in flavor, letting the seasonings you choose and the halibut itself shine through.

In most case, you’ll want to heat your oil up to 360 degrees Fahrenheit. Once you put the halibut in the oil, the temperature will drop down by about 10 degrees, and the fish will cook at the ideal frying temperature of 350. As long as your fish isn’t overly thin or thick, your halibut will be cooked through once the coating is a rich, golden brown.

At this point, you can dust it with salt, spray it with lemon juice, or simply let it drain on clean paper towels until it’s just cool enough to enjoy without burning the roof of your mouth!