Holy Halibut!

Halibut in a Chili Tomato Cream Sauce

I delivered a private cooking class to a couple of customers that had recently returned from a trip to Alaska, where they had collectively caught about four hundred pounds of fresh, Alaskan fish. I was thrilled when my tip at the end of the night involved several frozen samples of the fish they had caught: silver salmon, king salmon, ling cod, and two beautiful halibut fillets.

I prepared the halibut in this off-the-cuff-sauce with a couple of thoughts in mind. I wanted a sauce that was slightly creamy, and slightly spicy with a hint of citrus. Halibut has a delicate flavor, and while I love flavorful dishes, I didn’t want to over-power it – not completely, anyways.

Recently I have been making a Thai chili butter sauce which I have found to be a beautiful base for fish and seafood. The sauce that I made for this halibut was based roughly on that Thai sauce recipe, with the exception of wine, and the addition of field tomatoes.  Part of what makes this sauce so good is mixing Asian and Western ingredients together, as in the chili garlic sauce with wine (or in this case, chicken stock and lime instead of white wine). Try it! It’s quick to make, and I guarantee this will quickly become one of your favorite fish sauces.

Yield: 2 large portions of halibut


  • 2 large halibut fillets (about 1/2 lb each)
  • 1 tbsp of Vietnamese chili garlic sauce
  • 1 clove of garlic, minced
  • 1 tbsp of butter
  • 1/2 fresh lime, juice of
  • 1 cup of chicken stock
  • 1/2 cup of heavy whipping cream
  • 1 cup of fresh, diced tomato
  • sea salt and black pepper to taste


  1. Get all your ingredients prepared before you start cooking. This means, mincing the garlic, preparing the chicken stock, dicing tomato, etc.
  2. Melt butter in a hot skillet. Add the chili garlic sauce and minced garlic. Fry for about a minute to get the aroma of the chili and garlic. Keep it moving so that it doesn’t burn.
  3. Add the diced tomatoes and cook for another two minutes. Make sure the skillet is nice and hot, so that the tomatoes break down and the water that comes off of them evaporates instead of pooling.
  4. Add the chicken stock, squeeze half a lime of juice in the pan, and bring to a simmer. Once it’s simmering, add the cream and bring to a simmer.
  5. Add the halibut and cook in the simmering sauce. As the sauce reduces, the fish will cook, absorbing all that wonderful flavor!
  6. Once the sauce has reduced, and the fish is cooked through (do not flip fish over), season with salt and pepper to taste, and serve over Jasmin rice or garlic mashed potatoes with your side of choice and enjoy!

NOTE: Fish is cooked through when it’s opaque and you can easily flake it apart with a fork. In this recipe it only took about 10-12 minutes once it was simmering in the sauce.