A lot of the time, anyone attempting to cook sous vide anything for the first time can feel a bit lost. Whether it’s the technique that they’re confused about, the meat their cooking or sous vide in general, there are a ton of questions that many have.
After much trial and error, we’ve learned how to best cook halibut, sous vide style. And trust us when we say that it’s possibly the best way we’ve learned how to cook this particular type of fish yet. Sous vide has it’s many positives and this recipe has them as well.
First, what actually is sous vide?
If you’re new to sous vide or just want to learn more about it, look no further. Sous vide is a cooking technique that uses precise temperature to cook meat in a steam or water environment. These cooking times tend to be longer than other methods of cooking, or other cooking techniques, and some sous vide recipes or methods can call for 18-hour cooking times. In French, sous vide literally means “under vacuum,” which gives credence to how the food is cooked in vacuum sealed pouches at times.
You can find various sous vide appliances on Amazon and at other locations, depending on the size and budget that you have.
Find your preferred temperature
As you begin to cook sous vide halibut, whether it’s for the first time or the tenth time, you should set your temperature in the range of 105 to 150 Fahrenheit. Like other fish, halibut has many layers of firm flesh that cooks differently in different temperatures.
Many people like to cook their halibut at 130 degrees Fahrenheit. This is possibly the best possible temperature to cook your own halibut, but many people just like having the range and then figuring out which one fits best for them and their cooking style. This may take a few times to find out how you best like to cook your own halibut.
Our favorite recipe, step by step
The first thing you need to do is season your halibut. We recommend just using salt and pepper—but make sure you season both sides.
Get your plastic bag ready
Put your halibut in the plastic bags you have decided to use for the sous vide method, making sure to keep the fish in a single layer and not to overstuff any individual bag.
This is also a step where you can add some flavor and seasoning, depending on what you like. We recommend adding thyme or parsley. Make sure not to add a lot, or huge chunks of food or added spices, as this can mess up how the halibut is cooked.
After you’ve added the halibut to the necessary bags, put them in the refrigerator and let them rest there for at least 30 minutes. You can leave them there overnight as well, depending on your own time frame. But, at the very least, they should be in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes. This allows the salt to firm up the flesh.
Now, you need to preheat the water bath. Again, we recommend setting the temperature at 130 degrees Fahrenheit.
Take the halibut out of the fridge and prepare to cook them, once the water bath is done with its preheating stage.
Make sure that the plastic bags that the halibut are in are closed, with no air in the bag at all. All the air from the bag needs to be removed too.
Once this is completed, add the halibut to the water bath and let it cook for up 45 minutes. The halibut should be ready in a 30- to 45-minute time range.
Once done cooking, carefully remove the halibut from the water bath. Then, remove the halibut from the bag and begin to dry the fish.
Dry the halibut by placing it on a double layer of paper towels. Use another double layer of paper towels to blot the top of the halibut.
At this stage, you can get rid of the added spices you may have added (like thyme or parsley), as well as the skin of the halibut.
Now that the halibut is done with the water bath, it is time to sear the fish.
Heat up about a tablespoon of butter in a skillet over medium to medium-high heat on your stove. Once heated up, carefully add your halibut and cook for about 30 to 45 seconds, or until your halibut is lightly browned.
At this stage, you can once again add some spices like thyme, parsley, or garlic (depending on your favorite) while the halibut cooks. Once the first side of the fish is browned well, flip so it cooks well on the other side.
Once cooked thoroughly, place the halibut on a newly fresh double layer of paper towels to blot off the excess fat. This step can be ignored or totally removed depending on your own tastes.
You can now serve the halibut immediately. We recommended serving this fish with some steamed rice or vegetables like broccoli or any types of greens.
Hopefully, this recipe has made the whole process of cooking halibut via sous vide a little less weird, a little less scary, and a little less intimidating. Overall, the way to find your favorite sous vide halibut recipe is through trial and error. You may not like garlic and you may prefer parsley, etc. However, we do recommend sticking to the temperature and times given here, especially if this is your first time cooking sous vide halibut!
Cooking halibut using this sous vide method doesn’t have to be intimidating or scary. In fact, once you get used to this method, you’ll probably find you prefer the sous vide method to cooking halibut than the normal method you were using prior.
With proper guidance, experience gained through trial and error, and some patience as you learn this possibly new technique, you’ll be able to cook your new favorite sous vide halibut recipe in no time!