Halibut Season Has Begun


With all the fuss we make over spring vegetables, the lowly wild Alaskan halibut gets pretty short billing. The largest of all flatfish, measuring up to four feet wide, eight feet long and over 600 pounds, wild halibut is considered a good choice on the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch list. Fisherman use bottom longlines that cause very little damage to the sea floor and ensure a low by-catch; the fish is considered sustainable.

That's a big fish.

The season, which has just begun, runs until late October—the fish is harvested all along the Pacific coast, from Northern California to Alaska. Mild and meaty, it’s starting to appear at markets throughout the city as well as on restaurant menus all over town. Just this week it debuted at McCormick and Kuleto’s (in a ceviche, among other preparations); Bar Jules ran a dish of halibut cheeks with English peas and cilantro; and L’Ardoise, Thierry Clement’s new Noe Street bistro ran a special of halibut with beurre blanc. It’s delicate flavor blends perfectly with the rest of the spring bounty—asparagus, favas, mint and artichokes—making it the ideal choice for a seasonal feast. And, given that salmon season is officially in trouble, it's halibut's time to shine.

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