Pacific halibut caught in Alaska are some of the largest flatfish available in the region and have a sweet flavor that’s been appealing for generations. Because of their considerable size, you can eat them in various ways, including as larger steaks or as fillets. But have you ever tried halibut cheeks? While that might have an unappealing description, taking the meat portions from around the halibut’s gill area is a very popular dish.
How do you prepare halibut cheeks so you can best savor the sweet and tender taste? It doesn’t take a tremendous amount of effort to serve this at a party as a delicacy.
Freezing and Thawing Before Preparation
If you don’t plan to eat your halibut right away, you’ll be glad to know that halibut keeps longer in a deep freeze than other fish do. If it’s vacuum-sealed, your halibut should keep for up to a year in a deep freeze set at or below 0 degrees Fahrenheit. And when you remember it’s in there months later, thawing needs to be done very carefully. Once you take it out to thaw, let the thawing process taking place in your refrigerator so it doesn’t spoil. Be sure to cut an opening in the packaging to allow for some air while it’s thawing.
Cooking Your Halibut Cheeks
Before you throw your halibut on your grill or cook it in a stovetop pan, be sure to wash the fish under some water to rinse away residue. Simply place your halibut cheeks on any cooking mechanism you want. When in a lightly oiled pan on your stove, you need to cook the fish for about 10 minutes. However, partially cooking halibut or even eating the cheeks raw has been done before. While there may be some controversy about how safe eating raw fish is, the freezing supposedly kills any bacteria much like sushi is prepared.
Don’t forget the option of marinating your halibut for added taste along with any favorite seasonings. Marinating generally requires refrigeration overnight.
The Nutritional Benefits
No matter how you prepare halibut cheeks, you need to know that you’re eating one of the healthiest fish on the planet. The total Omega-3’s are 776 mg, which is slightly lower than you’d get with Alaskan salmon. Regardless, it’s still within the top five healthiest fish with only 190 calories per serving. Sodium is reasonable as well at 142 mg. Plus, for those who hate picking out bones out of their fish, there aren’t many to worry about with halibut, especially when consuming halibut cheeks.
Go visit your local fish market and buy some halibut cheeks straight from Alaska. You’ll be happy when your party guests rave about the halibut’s good taste without you having to do too much extra work beforehand.