Recipe: Pan-seared sake and lemongrass-marinated Pacific halibut

Chef William Tse shares his recipe for Pacific halibut and local veggies.

Goldfish Pacific Kitchen’s chef William Tse shares this incredible recipe for Pacific halibut and locally grown, seasonal vegetables


William Tse of Vancouver’s Goldfish Pacific Kitchen restaurant offers this recipe for pan-seared sake and lemongrass-marinated Pacific halibut with Asian bacon, Brussels sprouts and baby fingerling potato sauté.

Read about what makes Pacific halibut his favourite local ingredient.



Components of the dish


•  Halibut

•  Asian bacon, Brussels sprouts and baby fingerling potato sauté

•  Salad-mix garnish



Preparing the halibut


Fillet selection


You will need a 7 oz piece of halibut, with skin off or skin on. Look for flesh that is firm, white to a little golden hue in colour, with no smell. When you touch the halibut, it should be clean to the touch. It should not be stinky.



Halibut marinade


The marinade works best if made a day in advance. It allows all the ingredients to fully develop within the marinade and combine fully with the other ingredients. This marinade will last up to two weeks in a tightly sealed container in the refrigerator.

Marinate the halibut for no more than 20 minutes; over-marinating will overpower the fish.

1 clove garlic

½ tbsp ginger

½ whole Thai bird chili

1 stem fresh thyme

¼ stalk fresh lemongrass

1 each star anise

¼ cup sake

¼ cup soy sauce

¾ cup cold water

In a large bowl add sake, soy, and cold water. Peel garlic and thinly slice. Add to bowl. Peel and slice ginger and add to bowl. Thinly slice half a Thai bird chili, seeds and all. Rough chop the thyme and add to bowl. Thinly slice ¼ stalk of lemongrass and add to bowl. Add star anise.

Transfer to an airtight container and place into refrigerator, let sit for 24 hours. Once the marinade has sat for 24 hours it is ready to be used.

Place halibut into marinade for 20 minutes, and place back into the refrigerator. Once it has been in the marinade for 20 minutes, remove from marinade and pat dry with a paper towel. 



Cooking the halibut


Once the halibut has marinated and you have patted it dry, set aside until you need to cook it. We are only going to sear and cook the fish on one side. This is called unilateral cooking and what this does is, it helps keep one side of the fish relaxed and produces a tender piece of fish.

The halibut will take about 8 to 10 minutes to cook. 

First, heat fry pan on high. Add oil of your choice; canola oil imparts no real flavour and works well with this dish. Season halibut with salt and freshly cracked black pepper. Plan in pan and give it a good sear; carmelization will give it flavour and lock in the moisture.

Place in a 350 F oven for 7 minutes. Remove from oven and let sit for 2 minutes; this will allow the fish to relax and the juice to redistribute itself.



Asian bacon, Brussels sprouts, baby fingerling potato sauté


This is a one-pan sauté. You will need to pre-blanch the Brussels sprouts and the fingerling potatoes. Blanching means you pre-cook something in boiling salted water then plunge it into ice cold water to stop the cooking process. We will do this with the Brussels sprouts.

With the potatoes, we will place them in the salted water and cook till just under tender. Remove from water and let cool naturally on a plate.

5 medium Brussels sprouts

4 medium fingerling potatoes

1 slice peeled ginger

1 small shallot

1 clove garlic

1-inch piece Asian bacon (available in T&T supermarket, soy and brown sugar-cured pork belly)

1 tbsp cooking wine

½ cup chicken stock

1 tbsp unsalted butter 

1 tbsp Canola oil

salt and pepper

Clean and cut the Brussels sprouts in half. Blanch Brussels sprouts—this should only take about 3 minutes.

Precook potatoes (about 5 minutes). Once they are cooked and cooled, cut in half.

Thinly slice shallot, garlic and ginger. Cut Asian bacon into small dice.

Heat sauté pan (you will need a lid for this pan). Add canola. Place in Asian bacon and render out fat; once bacon has rendered remove from pan. Add in shallot, ginger and garlic; do not over brown garlic and ginger.

Add back Asian bacon, pre-blanched Brussels sprouts and fingerling potatoes. Sauté for 2 minutes.

Deglaze with cooking wine; let wine reduce and evaporate.

Add chicken stock and place lid on. Cook for 5 minutes till kitchen stock has cooked down by half.

Season with salt and black pepper.

Take off heat and mix in butter to give the sauce a bit of body and a shine.


To plate:


Once all the components are cooked you are ready to plate the dish. Grab yourself a plate that has a deep rim. Ladle the sauté in the middle of the plate—try to place all the ingredients down first minus the sauce. Place the cooked piece of halibut on top.

Ladle the sauce of the sauté around the plate. In a small bowl, place a pinch of salad mix, season with salt and pepper and a little canola oil. Place the salad on top of the halibut. The salad will help add a bit of texture and the richness of the dish.