Pan Seared Halibut With Red Wine Reduction Sauce

Sauteed fillet of fish
Juanmonino / Getty Images
Prep: 2 mins
Cook: 13 mins
Total: 15 mins
Servings: 4 servings

This recipe for pan-seared halibut with red wine reduction can be made with salmon, snapper or other white fish as well, but the meatiness of halibut really lends itself to searing. Choose thick (1 ½ ”) filets for this recipe. The sauce can be made ahead of time because it holds very well (store in an airtight glass container), which makes this an excellent choice for entertaining. 


  • 4 halibut fillets (about 5 ounces each, skinned)
  • Sea salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1 teaspoon dry herbs de Provence (Provencal herb blend of savory, thyme, basil, fennel, rosemary and/or lavender)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons mild local honey or organic sugar
  • 1 shallot (cut in half)
  • 1 small bay leaf
  • 1 rosemary sprig (about 2 1/2 inches long)
  • 2 1/2 cups good quality red wine, such as pinot noir or cabernet sauvignon
  • 1/2 cup strong vegetable stock or chicken broth

Steps to Make It

  1. Prepare the sauce: Place the honey, shallot, bay leaf, rosemary sprig, red wine and broth in a small, heavy-bottomed stainless steel saucepan.

  2. Bring the mixture to a boil, stirring occasionally.

  3. Reduce the heat to medium, and continue cooking, until the liquid has reduced to 1 cup and coats the back of a spoon. 

  4. Discard the rosemary, bay leaf, and shallot. (This makes about 1 cup, enough sauce for 8 to 10 entree servings.) Leftover sauce will keep for up to 2 weeks in the refrigerator.

  5. While the sauce is cooking, season the halibut filets top and bottom with sea salt, pepper, and herbs.

  6. Heat the olive oil in a cast-iron or other heavy-bottomed skillet (or lightly oil a stovetop grill) over medium-high flame.

  7. Place the filets top-down in the skillet, and cook about 7 minutes, until deep golden.

  8. Turn the filets skin side down and cook an additional 6 to 7 minutes, until both sides are golden and the fish is just cooked through. 

  9. Plate filets and drizzle with red wine reduction sauce.

  10. Garnish with fresh rosemary sprigs or Italian parsley leaves.

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