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Pan-Seared Halibut with Sun-Dried Tomato Butter

Ultra crispy on the outside and tender and flaky on the inside, our Pan-Seared Haliibut is an easy, impressive dinner that can be served any night of the week. We top the hot fish with a quick sun-dried tomato butter that slowly melts into the fish resulting in a flavor "sauce" with virtually no effort.
Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Keyword pan-seared halibut, pan-seared fish, sun-dried tomato butter, tomato butter
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
0 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes
Servings 4 people
Calories 342kcal
Author Nicole
Cost $50


  • Mini Food Proccessor
  • Cast iron skillet


  • 1/4 cup + 1 tbsp unsalted butter, room temperature and divided
  • 1/4 cup roughly chopped sun-dried tomatoes (not packed in oil)
  • 2 tsp lemon zest
  • 1/4 tsp kosher salt, plus more for seasoning the fish
  • 1 tbsp + 1 tsp olive oil
  • 4 6 oz filets halibut

Acini di Pepe

  • 1 cup Acini di Pepe (you can also use israeli, barley, or orzo)
  • 1 cup basil, roughly chopped
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 cup sliced sun-dried tomatoes
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt


  • Remove the fish from the fridge while you prepare the butter. Add tomatoes to a bowl with very hot water (all of them if you are makine the pasta). Let them sit for five minutes to plump up. Pat dry with paper towels.
  • Add the tomatoes to a food processor and pulse until they’re almost the consistency of a paste. You can also do this with a knife, but the texture won’t be as fine. Add lemon zest, salt, and 1/4 cup of the butter. Blend until smooth. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Transfer to a piece of plastic and roll back into a log of butter. Chill in the fridge while you sear the halibut. 
  • Heat a large cast-iron skillet to a medium-high heat. Once the skillet is hot, add the olive oil. Swirl to coat the pan. 
  • While pan heats, use a very sharp knife to remove the skin if you'd like. (We leave it on to keep the fish moist, but both sides will not get crispy.) Pat the halibut dry with paper towels. Season both sides generously with salt. (Only season right before you lay the fish in the pan, otherwise the salt will bring more moisture to the top of the fish and it won't sear properly.)
  • Add the fish to the pan (skin side up if there is skin on your fish). Don’t move it! Let the halibut sear for about 4 minutes until you see the bottom turn golden brown and crisp. Flip over and sear on the other side.
  • Immediately upon flipping the fish over, add the remaining tablespoon of butter to the bottom of the pan. Tilt the pan and spoon the melted butter on top of the halibut. After a minute, add 1/4 of the tomato butter on top of each filet of fish. Keep spooning the melted butter on top and around the fish. Do this for another 1-2 minutes until the fish is cooked through. Be careful you don't overcook, halibut will become tough and mushy if it's overcooked. Transfer the halibut to your serving platter or dish. Spoon the butter that’s left in the pan on and around the fish.

Acini di Pepe

  • Bring a medium pot of water to a boil. Season with salt. Add the pasta. Cook until aldente. Drain. Add lemon juice, olive oil, salt, basil, and sun-dried tomatoes. Toss to combine. Season to taste with salt and pepper.


Serving: 1serving | Calories: 342kcal | Carbohydrates: 13g | Protein: 3g | Fat: 33g | Saturated Fat: 12g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 40mg | Sodium: 345mg | Potassium: 733mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 8g | Vitamin A: 644IU | Vitamin C: 15mg | Calcium: 30mg | Iron: 2mg