Miso Halibut Steaks

Miso halibut

Miso halibut is one of my all-time favorite fish dishes. So when Favorite Fish Monger (a fast talking, fast acting, black rubber boot wearing Mrs. W) was selling fresh halibut steaks ($8.99/lb), passing it up would be a crime.

No other fish is a better canvas for miso (salmon comes close, but halibut is definitely better), and no other sauce brings out the flavor of halibut better than miso. Not only is miso halibut a savory culinary marriage, but is also extremely easy to make. I must say this dinner tasted better than any halibut I’ve had at seafood places in recent memory (there has been at least 4 different ones I can remember): It is amazing how great fresh halibut tastes – really quite different than the bland stuff they call “fresh” at restaurants.

Steaks or fillets? Skin and bones. And a recipe …

I have eaten fish all my life (“rock cod flakes in jasmine rice” was a regular meal my mother fed me when I was toddler; I remember detesting the texture immensely). In Chinese cooking, fish is almost always served whole, especially if it is fresh. Something is definitely amiss if the head is missing. Speaking of which – the heads of large fish like ling cod make very yummy Chinese dishes, definite favorites of mine. Due to a lifetime of practice, I have never been finicky about fish bones, nor have I ever choked on any. Skin, too, is extremely delicious.

Anyway, if you avoid fish steaks because you’re scared of choking on the bones, or you know you’d be picking out bones until the fish gets cold, by all means just get a fillet. But don’t just avoid it because you have never eaten it. Personally I find skin-on, bone-in fish tastes a little better than skinless and boneless… depends on the preparation as well. Kind of like chicken.

Mother’s Miso Halibut Recipe


2 fresh halibut steaks (1″ thick, about 8oz each)

1T red miso paste

1T soy sauce (preferably reduced sodium, as miso is already quite salty)

2 cloves of garlic, minced

2 green onions, finely chopped


1. Place halibut in a glass baking dish.

2. Mix miso, soy sauce, garlic and 3/4 of chopped green onions, spread on top of steaks.

3. Cover, refrigerate, and let marinate for about an hour.

4. Bake at 350F for 40 minutes or until fish flakes when forked.

5. About 5 minutes before removing from the oven, throw on the rest of the green onions.

Note: You can vary the amounts of the ingredients to your taste. Use more or less miso paste if you like, just adjust the soy sauce accordingly to equal volume.


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