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Molasses-Cured Halibut


3     cups (750 mL) water
3     tablespoons (45 mL) salt
3     tablespoons (45 mL) molasses
1 1/2    tablespoons (22 mL) brown sugar
3/4    teaspoon (3 mL) onion powder
3/4    teaspoon (3 mL) garlic powder
2     teaspoons (10 mL) dry mustard
2     bay leaves
2     teaspoons (10 mL) coriander seeds
2     small sprigs fresh thyme

6     halibut portions (4-ounce/125 g each), cut straight across the fillet (you can ask your fish cutter to do this, and while you're at it, smile nicely and ask him to remove the skin)
2     tablespoons (30 mL) cooking oil 
Horseradish (optional) 


In a saucepan, bring all cure ingredients to a rapid boil, and boil for 2 to 3 minutes, until dissolved. Remove from heat, cool and then chill.

Place halibut portions in the cure, making sure the fish is completely submerged. Refrigerate for 4 hours. Remove fish from liquid and blot dry with paper towels. (The fish will feel firmer to the touch than before it went into the cure.)

In a non-stick pan with 2 tablespoons (30 mL) of hot oil, sear one side of halibut until it is half-cooked, about 1 1/2 minutes. Do not turn halibut; put uncovered in a 400°F (200°C) oven to finish cooking process. This will take about 5 to 6 minutes, depending on thickness of fish. (When the sides of the fillet are gently squeezed, there should be some "give"-the halibut should not feel hard to the touch when done properly.) If the pan does not have an ovenproof handle, wrap with a couple of layers of foil before it goes into the oven. 

When the halibut tests done, remove from pan and blot excess oil with paper towels. Melt a small pat of fresh butter on each portion, and add a smear of horseradish, if desired. Makes 6 servings.

Note: Salmon can be prepared and cooked in the same way. If using salmon, scale and leave skin on.

Molasses-Cured Halibut

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