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Soy Sauce-Poached Halibut Cheeks

Soy Sauce-Poached Halibut Cheeks

Jessica Chou

Halibut Cheeks

Since fish cheeks are the best part of the fish, and halibut's flavor is so light, you hardly have to do anything to make it taste good. In this recipe, a quick poach in a soy sauce-based mixture is all it takes to whip up a quick dish.

Check out more Healthy and Hearty Halibut Recipes.


Instead of mixing your own sauce, you can also buy soba shoyu soy sauce and dilute it with water to taste.


  • 1 1/2 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 1/2 tablespoon mirin
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 10 tablespoons water
  • 1 pound halibut cheeks
  • 1 scallion, thinly sliced

Striped Bass Poached In Spicy Soy Sauce

Poaching fish in a mixture of soy sauce and water is a simple, fast method that adds gorgeous flavor to fillets, which emerge moist and succulent. It is also flexible and forgiving, with a cooking liquid that can accommodate a host of seasonings. Here those seasonings are sugar (to cut the saltiness of the soy sauce), scallions and an optional fresh or dried chile pepper (either minced or put in whole), but you could experiment with ginger, garlic, lime juice or other flavors. Combine all the ingredients, except the bass, in a skillet. Bring to a boil, add the fish flesh-side-down, and adjust the heat so that the mixture does not bubble too aggressively. The fish cooks in 8 to 10 minutes, until its flesh is mahogany-colored and doesn’t resist when you slice in with a thin-bladed knife. Serve on top of rice, garnished with the cooking liquid and the scallions, which are now limp and tender. Other fish, like cod, halibut, monkfish and salmon, also work, but keep an eye on it as it poaches — you will likely need to adjust the cooking time slightly.

Recipe Summary

  • ¼ cup fresh orange juice
  • 2 teaspoons minced fresh cilantro
  • 1 teaspoon minced fresh ginger root
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 4 (3 ounce) halibut cheeks

Whisk the orange juice, cilantro, ginger, garlic, soy sauce, sesame oil, and red pepper flakes together in a small bowl set aside.

Heat the olive oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Cook the halibut cheeks until golden brown on each side, 2 to 3 minutes per side. Pour the orange juice mixture into the skillet and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium and simmer until the halibut flakes easily with a fork and the sauce has thickened slightly. Remove halibut cheeks to a plate and drizzle with orange sauce to serve.

  • 1 pound halibut steaks
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 to 2 cloves garlic (minced)
  • Optional: Salt and pepper (to taste)
  • 2 to 3 small green onion (washed and finely chopped)

Combine all ingredients, except the halibut, in a small saucepan over medium heat. Mix until sugar is dissolved.

Preheat grill. Place halibut steaks on the grill and cook each side for about 5 minutes, regularly basting with the sauce. Grill until done. Halibut should be opaque through to the middle and flake easily with a fork (an internal temperature of 145 to 150 F).

Halibut Cheeks in Mushroom Cream Sauce

This recipe is one I’ve been contemplating for a long time after reading through a preparation published by Eric Akis where he poached halibut cheeks in a cream sauce. I’ve switched up a few of the flavors and ingredients to suit my own preferences, but the basis premise remains the same and I’ve got to say this is my new favorite halibut cheek recipe of all time. The sauce is ridiculously delicious and the cheeks cooked up super tender in the pan. It’s a very rich dish, so serve it with a generous helping of green vegetables to counteract the heavy cream sauce. Adding a small portion of rice or polenta to each plate will stretch this out if you’ve got a crowd to feed. As Eric eloquently said, it’s “sumptuous fish swimming in a luxurious cream sauce” - so good!!

  • 12 oz. halibut cheeks
  • salt, pepper
  • 1 T olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 1/2 cup finely chopped crimini mushrooms
  • 1/4 cup sherry (or white wine)
  • 1/2 cup whipping cream
  • 1 T whole grain mustard

Open up your halibut cheeks package and season the fish with salt and pepper. The sauce is going to come together fairly quickly, so do have most of the other ingredients prepped and ready near the pan. Mince the garlic, chop the mushrooms and place everything else within easy reach.

Turn your burner on medium-high and get out a large fry pan. Pour in the olive oil and place your cheeks in the hot pan. Cook for about one minute on each side, then remove from the pan with a pair of tongs and set on a small plate while you make the sauce.

Add the garlic and mushrooms to the remaining olive oil in the pan and stir-fry for about 2 minutes. Add the sherry and let that cook down until mostly evaporated - about a minute and a half. Turn the heat down to medium and stir in the cream. Let the cream simmer for a minute, then stir in the mustard and season with salt and pepper.

Return the halibut cheeks to the pan and fold the sauce over the top of the fish so it’s nestled in there, then let the sauce and fish simmer for about two more minutes. Place a lid on top of the pan, turn off the heat and let everything sit for another two or three minutes to finish cooking.

Serve with a green vegetable and a refreshing beverage (a cold Pinot gris or Sauvignon blanc would be recommended!) and enjoy!

What to Serve with Fish

I am very big on using complimenting side dishes and ingredients in all of my cooking, and since there is a touch of Asian influence into this pan-seared Alaska halibut recipe I wanted to serve it up with some bok choy and some noodles.

The process of cooking bok choy is so easy and takes maybe three to four minutes. I believe that braising bok choy is the best method of cooking. You get a hot pan and then add in the oil, peppers, and garlic, and then stir fry the bok choy. I simply add in some chicken stock and soy for the liquid and once it is slightly wilted, you’re good!

The other recipe I did was a sweet soy sauce that I mixed in with some soba noodles. It is incredibly simple to prepare, and I promise you it will be a new favorite side dish for you.

Whether you are making this pan-seared Alaska halibut or another great fish recipe, remember to buy sustainable wild-caught seafood from Alaska and always #AskForAlaska at the grocery, it is hands down the very best.

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Great Alaska Seafood Thawing Instructions

Fish & Scallops: The best way to thaw your fish or scallops is to leave them in the refrigerator overnight, allowing at least 8-10 hours. Sometimes the vacuum packages lose their seals in transit. This is normal. In those cases, use those packs first by taking the fish out of the packaging on a plate with plastic wrap over it and place in the refrigerator overnight.

For quicker thawing, place the vacuum sealed pouch in a bowl of cool water for 30-46 minutes. Do not use warm water, as it can cause the seafood to lose flavor and texture.

Crab:Crab is pre-cooked and can be thawed and eaten cold or cooked from frozen. Prior to cooking, rinse crab under cold water to remove salt water brine coated on legs that is used to preserve freshness.

Lobster: For best results, put lobster tails in their wrappers on a plate in the refrigerator the day before you plan to cook them. If you don't have time, soak the lobster tails in cold water until thawed. Lobster claws are pre-cooked and can be thawed and eaten cold or cooked from frozen.

Shrimp: Shrimp also thaw best overnight in the refrigerator. For quicker thawing, take the shrimp out of the package and put in a bowl of cold water, letting a trickle of cold water run into the bowl while excess water goes down the drain. The shrimp should be ready to cook in about 15 minutes using this method. Shrimp can also be boiled from frozen.

Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute

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Your host, owner, and fishing expert
Alaska Tim

Visit us, or write to:
Peninsula Processing & Smokehouse
720 Kalifornsky Beach Road
Soldotna, Alaska, 99669

Basic Halibut Cheeks Cooking Methods

Prep Time:
Overnight (pref.) or 30-45 minutes
Cooking Time:
Approximately 10 minutes
From the recipe files of
Alaska Tim

Seafood Ingredient: Fresh Alaska Halibut

  • The best way to thaw your halibut cheeks is to leave them in the refrigerator overnight allowing at least 8-10 hours. Trying to rush the process by thawing at room temperature or placing the frozen pouch in warm water is definitely NOT recommended, as it can cause the halibut cheek to lose flavor and texture. If you must thaw your halibut cheeks quickly, place the frozen pouch in a bowl of cool water for 30-45 minutes, and then continue thawing in refrigerator.
  • Melt 1 tablespoon butter in large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Dip each halibut cheek in a bit of flour (this is a great method although not necessary) and brown over high heat 1-2 minutes per side until center is opaque. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and serve.
  • Preheat oven to 450. Brush halibut cheek with butter and a dusting of bread crumbs if desired. Place tray high in oven and bake for 3-4 minutes until opaque in center. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
  • Brush grill with olive oil PRIOR to heating. Season halibut cheek with salt and pepper. Once the grill is medium hot place it, uncovered, and cook over medium heat for 1-2 minutes on each side or until it is firm and cooked through.

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Halibut Cheeks Poached in Curried Tomato Sauce

This dish is best with Halibut Cheeks. I’ve included the original amounts for the sauce, but we nearly doubled it because we wanted more. We’ll let you choose. Serves 4.

In a large, deep skillet, cook over moderate heat, stirring, until it begins to color
1 to 1 ½ cups chopped onions
1 tablespoon vegetable oil

2 to 4 large tomatoes, chopped (about 2 ½ to 5 cups or canned equivalent)
2 to 3 teaspoons curry powder
½ to ¾ teaspoons salt
¼ to ½ teaspoons sugar

Simmer, uncovered, for 15 minutes stirring occasionally. Then add
1½ pounds halibut cheeks cut into 2-inch chunks
Simmer, stirring occasionally, for about 10 minutes or until it is opaque.

Meanwhile, in a small saucepan, combine
2 cups canned chicken broth (or “Better Than Boullion” Not Chicken vege)
2/3 cup dried cranberries (Craisins)

Bring to a boil. Stir in
1½ cups couscous

Remove from heat. In a small skillet, over moderate heat, cook, stirring, until pale golden (about 3 minutes – taking care not to burn the nuts)
2 tablespoons butter
½ cup sliced almonds

Add almonds to the couscous. Then serve as a bed, with a hole in the center for the fish and sauce. Season all with
Freshly ground black pepper

And garnish with
2 to 4 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro or parsley

Baked Honey Marinated Halibut

This Baked Honey Marinated Halibut recipe is a flavorful combination of sweet marinated halibut paired with crisp stir-fried vegetables.

Sizzlefish halibut is wild-caught in the pristine waters of Southeast Alaska, off Baranof Island. Our halibut is size-selected to yield perfectly tender, flaky fillet servings for you to prepare at home. This light eating fish is an elegant treat and one of the highest-value seafood items. Alaska Halibut is also a naturally lean fish that cooks up white and flaky. This is a deliciously healthy fish, loaded with protein, as well as, packed with vitamins and minerals such as phosphorus, vitamins B6 & B12, magnesium, niacin, iron, zinc, vitamin A and heart-healthy Omega-3 fatty acids.

All of these make halibut a perfect choice for this recipe. Now, don’t let the timeline on this recipe scare you. The longest time is the marinating time and it is so worth it. The halibut fillets are perfect for soaking up all that goodness in the marinade. You can easily chop all of the stir fry vegetables while the halibut takes a rest in the refrigerator. Since the halibut and vegetables take such a small amount of time to cook, you want to make sure everything is prepped and ready to go when the fillets are done marinating. We served this over a bed of fragrant jasmine rice, but you could also serve it over cauliflower rice or brown rice.

Watch the video: Sådan steger du en kotelet perfekt