Seared Halibut with Lemon Caper Sauce

Seared Halibut with Lemon Caper Sauce

Seared halibut with lemon caper sauce, topped with a dollop of crab, is a sunny dish. The sauce on the halibut is a classic pan sauce, which can be used for chicken or fish of any kind.

This dish is really a showstopper and I think it’s as good as anything you will order in a fine dining restaurant. Halibut is a bit of a luxury so you will want to have all of your ingredients ready to go before you start cooking.

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Preparing halibut with lemon caper sauce:

You can buy your halibut in one large piece and cut it yourself into individual fillets, or if you shop at a good fish market, ask them to cut the halibut into fillet sizes of your choosing. Fresh halibut often comes with the skin on, and for this recipe I recommend you remove it prior to cooking.

Halibut is a mild white fish and it lends itself well to sauces. It cooks quickly, so searing is one of the easiest ways to prepare it. Like all fish, halibut can quickly overcook, so keep a close eye on your pan.

Because halibut is mild, be sure to salt and pepper before cooking. Remove from heat while making your sauce.

Classic Pan Sauce Instructions:

This seared halibut with lemon caper sauce and crab on top involves a few steps but is relatively easy. The sauce is a classic pan sauce, so you can use it with any white fish or chicken.

For this classic pan sauce, always begin by sauteeing minced shallots in butter and olive oil. I’ve added garlic because I love it, but if you prefer something milder just omit it. When the shallots begin to smell fragrant add the dry white wine and reduce (cook down) until nearly evaporated. Add capers and lemon juice and warm, then turn off the heat. Whisk in remaining butter to finish your sauce.

Serving seared halibut with lemon caper sauce:

Carefully add the cooked halibut back into the pan to warm. Spoon the lemon caper sauce over the top before serving.

This recipe includes a dollop of crab meat on top of the halibut!

Seared halibut with lemon caper sauce and a dollop of crab atop steamed asparagus

Suggestions for wine pairing:

Your weekday wines:

  • Palmina Pinot Grigio, Santa Barbara, California
  • Louis Latour Pouilly Fuisse, Maconnais France (Chardonnay grape)

Your weekend wines:

  • Sauvion Sancerre Sauvignon Blanc, Loire Valley, France
  • William Fevre Chablis, France

A special occasion wine:

  • Louis Jadot Chassagne Montrachet, France
  • Chateau Fuisse Pouilly Fuisse Le Clos, France

Seared Halibut with Lemon Caper Sauce

A sunny lemon caper sauce pairs perfectly with seared Halibut. Then topped with a dollop of crab for an elegant touch
Prep Time20 mins
Cook Time20 mins
Total Time40 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Fish, Halibut, Lemon Caper Halibut, Lemon Caper Sauce, SEAFOOD
Servings: 2 servings
Calories: 261kcal
Author: Cyndy Ufkes – The Art of Food and Wine


  • 1 lb Fresh halibut, skinless, Cut into 2 equal fillets
  • ½ tsp pepper
  • ½ tsp sea salt
  • 2 tbsp Extra virgin olive oil, divided
  • 6 tbsp butter, unsalted divided
  • 3 tbsp garlic, minced
  • 1 tbsp shallots, minced
  • ½ cup dry white wine, such as chardonnay or sauvignon blanc
  • 1 small lemon, sliced
  • 2-3 tbsp capers, drained
  • 4 tbsp lemon juice, divided
  • ¼ cup crab meat, shredded
  • 1 tbsp flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped


  • Sprinkle halibut fillets with sea salt and pepper.
  • Heat a large saute pan over medium heat. Add 1 tablespoon olive oil and 2 tablespoons butter and swirl to coat pan.
  • Add halibut fillets and sear about 5 minutes per side. Check for doneness and remove to a plate. Wipe out the pan.
  • Heat, in the clean pan, over medium heat, 1 tablespoon olive oil and 2 tablespoons butter. Add garlic and shallots and saute for 1 minute. Add wine and lemon slices and reduce for 2-3 minutes, until nearly evaporated. Add capers, and 3 tablespoons lemon juice. Cook for 1 minute. Turn off the heat and swirl in remaining 2 tablespoons of butter to finish the sauce.
  • Put halibut fillets back into the pan, adding any juices that are on the plate. Warm for 1 minute.
  • In a small bowl add crab meat and 1 tablespoon lemon juice. Mix to combine
  • Serve halibut on a shallow plate, top with 2 tablespoons crab mixture. Spoon lemon caper sauce over top of halibut and add a sauteed lemon slice as garnish. Sprinkle with chopped parsley.

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