So it’s the middle of February when most of America is in the thick of winter. I will never forget living in Seattle and forgetting what warmth felt like, or vibrant colors deep in winter. Now I live in Southern California and never take for granted those sunny days in the middle of winter. This last Sunday was one of those days. Diving was crystal clear, the sun was out and honestly it could not have felt nicer — I’m not trying to make you jealous but just trying to set the tone for the day.
We were excited to dive and scout some potential spots for the up and coming White Sea Bass season. Because a solid kelp presence is vital to WSB hunting we wanted to see how our local spot was doing.
It was mid morning when we got down to the water. With a long swim ahead of us — I was just thankful for some descent visibility. My brother and friend were right in front of me. We swam out past the surf break and loaded up our spearguns. I took a second longer and started kicking. It had been a while since we’d gone diving during the day (with lobster season mostly taking over our recent dives). I was again caught up in the feeling of how special diving is. I have made that swim so many times, and I’ve seen a couple sargo or a lonesome calico oddly close to shore so I was scanning for fish. One time years ago I actually saw a pacific Sand dab, a flat fish similar to the halibut, it was only about 8” long though. As much as I’ve looked, I’ve still yet to see a single halibut while diving. But I thought to myself, if I was a halibut this is definitely where I’d be... the sea grass below me danced with the current as a wave moved over me. And just like that, only a few moments later, there it was. I saw the undeniable ribbing of the dorsal fins of a halibut. You couldn’t see anything else of the fish — it was completely buried under the sand. I tried to stay calm. Took a second. Aimed my gun and pulled the trigger. With a cloud of sand the halibut rose in a fury, spear shaft firmly planted ahead of his gill plate.
I couldn’t stop smiling all day. Something was in the air and I was really inspired by the ease of summer.
My brother and I filleted the fish, and I started dreaming of what I would make with this fresh fish. Halibut is one of my favorite fish to eat, and there are so many recipes out there about ways to eat it. I tried not to get overwhelmed but I also wanted to make something special. So I decided to risk it and try something new!
This recipe represents 1 halibut top side filet yielding approximately 4 servings.
Basic marinade: (1hr to 24hrs)
- Soy sauce - 1/2 cup
- Dijon mustard - 2 tbsp
- Maple syrup - 1 tbsp
- Chipotle seasoning - light sprinkle
Pan fry with medium high heat,
1/2 tbsp of butter in hot pan, stick halibut filet meat side up first, 2.5 minutes flip on each side with lid covering pan.
Skin will peel off in pan as you are finish pan frying.
Place on bed of steamed jasmine rice
Toppings to complete your Halibut Bowl:
- A cup of Cilantro
- 1/2 avocado
- 1 to 2 cloves of garlic
- 1 1/2 white wine vinegar
- 1/8 tsp. Salt
- 2 tbsp of olive oil
- Blend and then mix in 1/2 cup of mayonnaise
Additional topping suggestions:
- Black beans
- Sweet and spicy Jalapeños from Trader Joe’s
- Pickled onions
- Toasted walnuts (yes, stick in broiler for 3-4 minutes)
Drizzle entire contents of bowl with:
- Toasted sesame seed oil
- Tapatío or your favorite hot sauce