Seafood guru and Hugo’s Frog Bar & Fish House executive chef Russell Kook has a fail-safe technique for cooking halibut: sear first, roast second. This creates a crust that holds in moisture as the fish cooks. To test for doneness, Kook sticks a paring knife into the thickest part. If the knife pulls out with no resistance, it’s dinnertime.

Russell Kook Shares His Recipe for Halibut
with Lemon Sauce

Total Time:25 minutes

2 Lemons, quartered and seeded
2 Tbsp. White balsamic vinegar
⅓ cup Sugar
½ cup plus 1 Tbsp. Canola oil
2 8-ounce skinless halibut fillets, 1 inch thick
2 Tbsp. Kosher salt
2 Tbsp. Butter
½ lb. Sugar snap peas, shredded

1. Heat oven to 450 degrees.

2. In a blender, purée lemons with vinegar and sugar until a coarse paste forms. Slowly stream in ½ cup canola oil until mixture is fully emulsified and as thick as pudding. Set aside.

3. Season both sides of each fillet with salt.

4. Heat remaining oil in a cast-iron pan over medium-high heat. Add the fish; cook for 30 seconds. Transfer to oven.

5. After 3 minutes, flip fillets, place 1 tablespoon of butter on each, and cook 2 more minutes. Test for doneness; remove from oven and let rest 3 to 4 minutes.

6. To serve, spoon ¼ cup lemon sauce onto each plate and top with halibut and the peas.

Tip: The lemon sauce keeps for 3 days in the fridge and is also good on fava beans, ramps, or any spring veggie.