An incredibly easy fish recipe, Broiled Halibut with Gremolata checks all of the boxes. It’s quick, it’s low in calories, it’s low carb, and best of all, it’s delicious!
Halibut is a large flatfish, which looks a little like a huge flounder. It is very popular because of its mild and slightly sweet flavor, which pairs very nicely with the lemony gremolata topping. It is also a lean fish with a firm, flaky texture similar to grouper or sea bass.
Because of its mild taste, this easy halibut recipe is an excellent choice if you are trying to sway someone who says they don’t like the “fishy” taste of seafood.
Here’s what you need to make this recipe:
The ingredients are simple; you will need halibut fillets, olive oil, kosher salt, and ground black pepper. For the gremolata, you will also need garlic, lemons, Italian parsley, and Parmesan cheese.
Here’s how to make this recipe:
To make the gremolata, combine the olive oil, garlic, lemon zest, parsley, and Parmesan cheese in a small bowl. Set aside.
Place the top rack of your oven about eight inches below the broiler element and preheat the broiler.
Spray the rack of a broiler pan or wire baking rack placed over a baking sheet with non-stick cooking spray.
Pat the halibut fillets dry with a paper towel and sprinkle salt and pepper evenly over all surfaces of the fish.
Place the fillets on the broiler rack and generously drizzle with melted butter, or brush on with a pastry brush.
Broil the fillets three minutes on the first side.
Carefully remove the pan from the oven, turn the fillets over, and again generously drizzle or brush on the remaining butter. Top each fillet with a few spoonfuls of the gremolata and spread out evenly.
Broil the halibut fillets another three to four minutes or until the internal temperature of the fish reaches 140°F in the thickest part. Then remove the pan from the oven, and cover the fish with a plate or a piece of foil and let it rest for about five minutes or until it reaches 145°F, which is the USDA’s recommended minimum internal temperature.
Serve immediately and garnish with lemon slices, if desired.
What to serve with it?
I like to serve this broiled halibut with my Southern Squash Casserole, Southern Baked Mac and Cheese, or Southern-Style Creamed Corn. If you want to pair it with a lighter dish, it also goes well with my Broccoli Slaw with Ramen Noodle Salad, Apple Pecan Salad, or my Fall Harvest Salad with Apples and Sweet Potatoes.
Storage and leftovers:
Store leftover fish covered in the refrigerator for two to three days max. Leftovers can be heated up in the microwave for 30-45 seconds, and I like to sprinkle a few drops of water over the fish before microwaving to keep it moist. I also like to use leftover fish to make fish tacos.
Frequently asked questions:
What is gremolata?
Similar to chimichurri, gremolata is simply a combination of lemon zest, parsley, and garlic. It pairs beautifully with fish and not only adds a tasty element, but it also makes an excellent garnish and a pleasing visual contrast to the white fish.
Why is halibut so expensive?
Most of the world’s halibut is caught off of the coast of Alaska in the cold waters of the Pacific Ocean, and it is a very carefully regulated species. Fresh halibut can run well over $20 per pound, and it is usually available only mid-March through mid-November. However, a halibut fillet has no waste and depending on who you are serving, and what else you are serving, it’s possible to serve four people with only a pound.
How should it be cooked?
Besides broiling, halibut can be baked, grilled, sautéd, pan-seared, poached, or steamed. You could also sous vide it. But, if cooked too long, the lean meat can dry out.
What’s the best temperature to cook it?
High temperatures that cook the fish quickly are the best, and be sure to use plenty of olive oil, butter, or even a sauce, to keep it from drying out.
Is it best to bake or broil fish?
In general, either method will work, and whether you bake or broil, it comes down to personal preference. Since halibut is so lean, I prefer to broil it because it is quicker.
How long to broil it?
The quick answer here is it all depends! There are several variables involved: the thickness of the fillets, the temperature of the fish before cooking, and how far it is away from the cooking element. For a fillet that is between one and a quarter and one and a half inches thick and at room temperature, it will take about six to seven minutes total.
If the fillet is thicker, it will take longer; if it is thinner, it will take less time. It will also take slightly longer if the fish isn’t allowed to come to room temperature first.
How do you know when it’s done?
The fish is done when it becomes opaque and flakes easily. However, if you want to have consistent success cooking fish, use an instant-read meat thermometer to test for doneness until you are sure you have the hang of it.
It’s important that the garlic for the gremolata is as finely minced as possible. I like to use a zester grater, or you can use a garlic press. If you have neither, you can make a fine paste by sprinkling the minced garlic with a tiny bit of kosher salt and tilting a large knife at a 30-degree angle to the garlic and smash and drag it across the surface of your cutting board. Pile up the garlic again, sprinkle lightly with salt, and press and drag again.
When placing your oven rack under your broiler, don’t forget to measure the height of your pan and rack and your fish fillets. You don’t want your fillets any closer than six inches under the broiler.
Save on cleanup by lining your broiler pan or baking sheet with a piece of aluminum foil before cooking the fish. I usually like to use parchment paper instead, but I don’t like the idea of the parchment paper being so close to the broiler element.
If you like, feel free to substitute lemon pepper for the ground black pepper or add a bit of Old Bay seasoning to your fillets.
Be sure to take your halibut out of the fridge about 30 minutes before you plan to cook them to allow them to come to room temperature. Also, if you can, try and purchase fillets that are a uniform thickness so they will all cook in the same amount of time.
When purchasing fresh fish, be sure to keep the fish refrigerated and plan to cook it the same or the next day.
More seafood recipes:
If you like this recipe for Broiled Halibut, I think you may also like these popular recipes on my blog: Homemade Deviled Crab, Spicy Blackened Shrimp Tacos, Pecan Crusted Fish Fillets, Southern Blue Crab Cakes, and Blackened Mahi-Mahi.
If you like grouper as we do, check out these favorites: Oven-Baked Parmesan Grouper Fillets, Grilled Grouper with Mango Salsa, Baked Grouper with Tomatoes and Artichokes, and Oven-Baked Crispy Grouper Fillets.
And, finally, if you would like more recipes or menu inspiration, you can check out all of my seafood recipes here.
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Broiled Halibut with Gremolata Recipe
- 1.5 pounds halibut fillets 1 to 1.5 inches thick, cut into four 6-ounce pieces
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter melted
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 cloves garlic peeled and grated or put through a garlic press
- 1 tablespoon lemon zest
- 3 tablespoons fresh Italian parsley chopped
- 3 tablespoons Parmesan cheese grated, not shredded
- optional lemon slices for garnish
- To make the gremolata, combine the olive oil, garlic, lemon zest, parsley, and Parmesan cheese in a small bowl. Set aside.
- Place the top rack of your oven about eight inches below the broiler element and preheat the broiler.
- Spray the rack of a broiler pan or wire baking rack placed over a baking sheet with non-stick cooking spray.
- Pat the halibut fillets dry with a paper towel and sprinkle salt and pepper evenly over all surfaces of the fish.
- Place the fillets on the broiler rack and generously drizzle with melted butter, or brush on with a pastry brush.
- Broil the fillets three minutes on the first side.
- Carefully remove the pan from the oven, turn the fillets over, and again generously drizzle or brush on the remaining butter. Top each fillet with a few spoonfuls of the gremolata and spread out evenly.
- Broil the halibut fillets another three to four minutes or until the internal temperature of the fish reaches 140°F in the thickest part. Then remove the pan from the oven, and cover the fish with a plate or a piece of foil and let it rest for about five minutes or until it reaches 145°F, which is the USDA's recommended minimum internal temperature.
- Serve immediately and garnish with lemon slices, if desired.