*If your fish market did not skin the halibut, see the Notes section below for instructions on how to skin the filet.
1 pound fresh halibut, skinned* and cut into two equal portions
4 tablespoons butter, divided
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
½ teaspoon kosher salt
Few grinds black pepper
3–4 slices lemon (we used Meyer lemons but regular lemon will do)
2 teaspoon fresh garlic, finely chopped
¼ cup white wine such as Chardonnay
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 tablespoon capers drained
2 tablespoons fresh flat leaf parsley chopped
Salt the top of the fish with just a small sprinkle of kosher or sea salt.
Place two tablespoons of butter and the olive oil in a medium to large skillet or sauté pan and heat over medium heat.
Swirl the butter and oil around and once it starts to slightly brown, add the fish top side down. Sprinkle the side facing up with the rest of the salt and the pepper. Cook for five minutes then using one or two long fish spatulas, gently flip over being careful not to splash hot fat.
Add the lemon slices to the pan as the fish cooks and cook the fish about 3-5 more minutes. Poke the fish to test for doneness or insert a small knife in the side of the center to see if the fish flakes. You want to stop the cooking just before it fully cooks so a little undercooked in the center is fine. It will continue to cook outside of the pan.
Using one or two fish turners, remove the fish filets to a platter along with the cooked lemon slices.
Pour off all but two tablespoons of the fat left in the pan. Best to pour it all into a bowl, let the burned bits sink to the bottom then skim off a few tablespoons of the fat at the top and place back into the pan.
Keep the heat at medium and add the garlic and cook one minute. Add the wine and cook to evaporate. Then add the lemon juice, capers and parsley. Cook for a minute then remove from heat and stir in the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter and stir to make the sauce.
Put the fish back into the pan along with any liquid from the platter, bring heat back to medium and use a spoon to spoon the sauce over the top and cook for 30 seconds then remove to a platter and serve. (I know this seems like a lot of work but at about $23.00 per pound – more if you live away from the ocean – the extra time invested to get this special dish perfect is worth it.)
Serve each portion with a cooked lemon slice and some of the pan sauce.
*If the halibut is not already skinned, place the filet on a cutting board close to the edge where you are working. Use a sharp long knife and start the skin by cutting a little and separating the skin from the meat but still attached. Then hold that piece down tight against your board, skin down, while you run the knife between the skin and the fish holding the knife flat. Pull the skin as you move the knife slightly back and forth and the skin will come right off. Cut filet into two equal portions and discard the skin.