Having a selection of Alaskan fish in our freezer makes for delicious and healthy dishes during the winter months. Pan-fried halibut with sourdough breadcrumbs is one of our favorite weeknight meals.
Halibut Fishing in Alaska
Over the summer, my husband and a few buddies drove seven hours to Valdez, a major fishing location in southern Alaska. They took a charter boat out into the Gulf of Alaska and spent the day fishing for halibut, rockfish, and lingcod. They had a great time and now we’re enjoying the bounty this winter.
We usually eat fish at least twice a week. Between whitefish and salmon, we are fortunate to be able to have it often. As we run low, we look forward to the next summer’s catch.
Pan-Fried versus Fried Halibut
When we were new to Alaska, we would often head to some of the local restaurants just to get some fried halibut. It was our favorite. But now that we are catching our own halibut (and rockfish and lingcod) we can make it ourselves! Our favorite recipe for fried halibut is in this cookbook.
Fried halibut is so delicious and definitely a special meal, often reserved for guests. Of course anything fried should be avoided so we don’t indulge in it regularly. Pan-fried, however, is a faster and healthier option and just as delicious.
Start with a couple of fillets of your favorite whitefish. I refer to halibut for this recipe as it is usually the most popular whitefish up here. However, we have grown to love lingcod and it has become our favorite. Rockfish is also delicious so I will use whatever I happen to pull out of the freezer, they all work perfectly for this recipe.
There’s no need to buy bread crumbs from the store when the heels of homemade bread are waiting to be used up. Homemade breadcrumbs couldn’t be any easier to make and are far more delicious (and healthier) than anything you can buy.
I try to keep a jar full of breadcrumbs in the freezer to use whenever needed. Anytime we’re at the end of a loaf of bread, if it doesn’t get taken down to the chickens for a treat, I grate it up and the crumbs go into the jar.
Freshly grated breadcrumbs work just as well and the sourdough adds a nice flavor to the dish.
Tools You Will Need
This is a quick and easy recipe that doesn’t require anything fancy. All you will need is:
- Two shallow bowls
- Cutting board
- Small sheet pan or plate (for refrigerating)
- Frying pan (I use enameled cast iron but any type will do)
Making Pan-Fried Halibut with Sourdough Breadcrumbs
After the breadcrumbs are ready, put them in a shallow bowl and season lightly with salt and pepper. I like the sourdough flavor to stand out so I don’t add a lot of seasoning. If you are using regular breadcrumbs, feel free to go to town with your favorite spices.
In another shallow bowl, beat two eggs with a generous splash of whole milk until combined.
Cut the fillets into thin strips. I always pull out two small or one large fillet for our family. That equals about a pound and a half of fish and our hungry girls will devour it.
Using one hand, dredge a strip in the egg mixture, coating completely. Place it in the breadcrumbs.
Using your other hand, coat the strip completely with breadcrumbs and place on a small sheet pan or plate. This method prevents your fingers from getting too caked with crumbs while you’re dipping.
Repeat for the rest of the strips and then place them in the fridge for a few minutes while you prepare the rest of the meal. I like to make these in the afternoon as they can stay in the fridge for a while. Then, when it’s time for dinner, all I have to do is pull them out and cook them, which doesn’t take long. Refrigerating the strips, even for just a few minutes, helps the breadcrumbs stay on better during cooking.
While the strips are in the fridge, add some olive oil (or oil of your choice) to your skillet (enough to cover the bottom) and heat on medium-high.
Once heated, pull the strips out of the fridge and place in the skillet. Allow them to cook for several minutes until the bottom starts to brown.
Flip them carefully with a spatula or fork (they can flake and fall apart easily!) and cook until golden brown on the other side and the internal temperature reaches 140 degrees F.
Serve immediately while hot with some light sides, you will want to enjoy the fish! I just put out a simple salad along with our favorite cheddar garlic seafood biscuits and we’re all set.
They are also extra delicious dipped in some homemade tartar sauce.
Storage and Reheating
Store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for up to four days.
To reheat, bake in a 350 degree F oven for 10-15 minutes or until warmed throughout. These are so delicious reheated for lunch the next day.
I hope you enjoy pan-fried halibut with sourdough breadcrumbs as much as we do! Use any whitefish that your family prefers and crumbs from your favorite loaf of bread to make it a hit at your table too.
Pan-Fried Halibut with Sourdough Breadcrumbs
- 1 lb Whitefish (halibut, rockfish, or ling cod)
- 1 cup Sourdough breadcrumbs
- 2 Eggs
- 1/2 cup Whole milk
- 1/4 cup Olive oil
- Add breadcrumbs to a shallow bowl.
- In another shallow bowl, whisk together eggs and milk until combined.
- Cut fish fillet into thin strips.
- Dredge a strip of fish in the egg mixture to coat.
- Transfer to breadcrumbs and cover completely.
- Repeat with remaining strips of fish and place them on a small sheet pan or plate.
- Refrigerate until ready to cook (to help set the breadcrumbs).
- Heat olive oil (or oil of your choice) in a skillet over medium-high heat.
- Place fish in oil and cook on one side until lightly browned.
- Gently flip the fish over and continue to cook until the other side is lightly browned and the internal temperature reaches 140 degrees F.
- Transfer to a serving dish and serve immediately.
- Store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to four days. Reheat in the oven at 350 degrees F for 10-15 minutes.