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Table of Contents

  • Benefits of eating seafood
  • Cooking seafood in cast iron vs other cookware
  • Recipe: Cast Iron-Seared Halibut with Browned Butter
  • Halibut FAQs

Did you know the American Heart Association recommends eating two servings of seafood each week? Fish are a natural source of omega-3s and other essential vitamins and minerals. Yet more than 80 percent of Americans struggle to get their weekly servings of seafood, according to the USDA. To help you incorporate more deliciously healthy fish into your diet, we’re sharing our favorite cast iron halibut recipe.

Thanks to its delicate flavor and meaty texture, halibut lends itself to a variety of dishes and cooking methods. One of the most popular types of white fish in the USA, halibut are large flatfish found on both sides of the North Pacific. Bonus: Pacific halibut is not at risk, making it a great option if you’re looking for sustainable seafood.

Keep reading to discover the nutritional benefits of eating seafood and easy tips for how to cook halibut in your cast iron skillet like a pro.

Benefits of eating seafood

Promotes heart health

Seafood is a great natural source of omega-3 fatty acids. These essential fatty acids support heart health by lowering blood pressure and triglyceride levels, reducing arterial plaque formation, and raising HDL (good) cholesterol levels. To ensure you are getting enough omega-3s, the American Heart Association recommends eating 2 servings of seafood per week. However, not all fish are created equal—to optimize your intake, focus on fish that have the highest omega-3 content, like mackerel, herring, salmon, bass, and halibut.

Rich in vitamins

In addition to essential fatty acids, seafood is rich in vitamins and minerals that are vital to your health.

Vitamin D supports the growth of healthy cells and bones, boosts your immune system, and helps combat high blood pressure, heart disease, and depression. Surprisingly, 40 percent of the US population is deficient or low in this important nutrient. Luckily, fish is one of the best (and tastiest) dietary sources of vitamin D, with fatty fish like salmon containing the highest amounts.

The B-complex vitamins, like B12, that are found in seafood also support many of your body’s important functions, including:

B-vitamin health benefits

  • Helping build red blood cells
  • Improving cognitive functions like memory and concentration
  • Increasing energy levels
  • Boosting the immune system
  • Maintaining healthy skin, nails, and hair

Just one 3-ounce serving of halibut has 15 percent of the daily recommended intake of vitamin B6, 17% for vitamin B12, and 25% for niacin (aka vitamin B3).

Low-calorie protein

Seafood is generally one of the best low-calorie protein sources out there. A 3-ounce serving of a lean fish, like halibut, contains about 100 calories and over 20 grams of protein—more than 40 percent of the recommended daily intake.

Protein is an essential part of a healthy diet as it helps your body build and maintain cells, muscles, and organs. Plus, seafood is a complete protein, which means it contains all nine of the amino acids the human body needs to stay healthy. Essential amino acids help ensure healthy fetal development and optimal growth in young children.

Eating a protein-rich diet can also increase your metabolic rate (how fast your body burns calories) and keep you feeling full longer, which may be beneficial to those looking to maintain a healthy body weight.

Cooking seafood in cast iron vs other cookware

One of the best ways to keep seafood juicy and flavorful is to cook it quickly at a high temperature, which means your cast iron skillet’s searing skills are ideal for preparing a range of seafood. There are just two rules of thumb to keep in mind before you get started.

1.

Avoid delicate seafood. Super flaky fish like tilapia and flounder may not stand up well to the heat of your pan, so it’s best to go for heartier fare like shrimp, salmon, and halibut.

2.

Always preheat the pan. Ensure you preheat your pan for several minutes to allow it to reach the suggested temperature setting. A hot pan helps prevent fish from sticking or drying out. It ensures that a nice crust forms quickly (that means no overcooking) which in turn helps the fish release easily.

Recipe: Cast Iron-Seared Halibut with Browned Butter

Yield: 4 servings

The rich flavor of browned butter and subtle hints of thyme pair beautifully with the slight sweetness of the fish in this halibut cast iron recipe. Searing the fillets in your cast iron skillet gives the fish a crispy golden brown crust, while cooking the inside to flaky perfection. We love this dish served with oven roasted asparagus and new potatoes.

Instructions

1.

Pat the halibut dry with paper towels and season with salt and pepper.

2.

Heat a Field No.10 Skillet over medium-high heat for a few minutes. Add the oil. When the oil begins to shimmer, add the halibut and cook without moving until the bottom is golden brown and the fish no longer sticks to the pan when nudged with a spatula, 4 to 5 minutes.

3.

Using a spatula, turn the halibut over and add the butter, thyme, and garlic to the pan. When the butter has melted, begin spooning the butter over the top of the halibut. Continue cooking and basting until the halibut is just opaque throughout, about 2 minutes longer.

4.

Transfer the halibut to a serving platter and discard the thyme and garlic. Squeeze the lemon into the skillet and swirl the pan to mix the sauce. Pour sauce over the halibut and serve.

Pro tip: how to buy halibut

Fresh halibut is best during the spring and summer when it’s in season, between March and September. When selecting your fish, look for firm-textured flesh with a glossy and translucent appearance. Avoid cuts that look dry, dull, or have white spots on the flesh.

Halibut freezes well, so picking up frozen or previously frozen fish is okay. In fact, in some cases buying frozen may be the freshest option as the fish are often frozen on the boat right after they’re caught (especially Alaskan halibut).

Halibut FAQs

Should you remove skin from halibut before cooking?

Unlike salmon skin which gets nice and crispy when it’s cooked, halibut skin is on the tougher side, so it’s recommended that you remove it before eating.

As a general rule of thumb, it’s best to remove the skin before you cook halibut. Leaving the skin on a fish can make cooking times longer. Since halibut can dry out if it’s overcooked, adding to the cook time isn’t a good approach.

How do you cook halibut without drying it out?

Due to its low fat content, halibut is prone to drying out. As California halibut is particularly susceptible, we recommend purchasing Pacific halibut if possible. It’s more versatile and forgiving when cooking.

When searing halibut in cast iron, use plenty of oil or butter (or both, like in the recipe above) to prevent your fish from drying out. Trying halibut recipes that call for moist heat, like poaching or braising, are also a great way to go.

What do you eat with halibut?

Even though it’s packed with nutrients and full of protein to help keep you feeling full, halibut is best when it’s complemented with veggies or something starchy. Meaty and mild in flavor, halibut is super versatile and pairs well with an array of side dishes.

Whether you’ve seared, baked, grilled or poached it, we suggest serving up your next halibut creation with one of these tasty accompaniments: garlicky mashed potatoes, herbed green beans, stuffed bell peppers, over a bed of greens, roasted glazed carrots, risotto, oven-baked sweet potato wedges; or in tacos with pineapple salsa.