Your seafood choices can have a big impact on the health of our oceans and lakes – so make sure they’re positive ones! Every month, Shedd’s Right Bite team highlights a sustainable seafood option that’s good for you and our planet. The Fish of the Month for May is Pacific halibut, which is on Shedd’s “best choice list” for sustainability.
Pacific halibut are the largest of the “groundfish,” or “flatfish,” species. They earned these names because they are usually found on the seafloor, hiding in the sand showing nothing but their eyes. Pacific halibut are usually 10 to 60 pounds when caught but can grow as large as 500 pounds. The fishery is strictly managed by the International Pacific Halibut Commission (IPHC), which regularly conducts population assessments and sets catch limits. U.S. Pacific halibut is certified sustainable by the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC), the world’s leading eco-label for seafood. Be sure to look for this logo when you go to the grocery store or dine at a restaurant.
Most U.S. Pacific halibut is well managed and harvested with minimal environmental impact. The fish are commonly caught with bottom longlines, a fishing method that limits bycatch, a term used for wildlife that's accidentally caught by fishing lines and nets.
You can support this fishery by trying our Fish of the Month recipe for Pan-seared Halibut with Mushrooms and Pea Shoots. This dish is simple, elegant, and goes well with a crisp white wine – perfect for spring! Also check out the latest episode of “Cooking the Right Bite Way” to see step-by-step instructions on how to prepare this dish.
Here’s to connecting conservation and cuisine!
Pan-seared Halibut with Mushrooms and Pea Shoots
4 4 oz. Pacific halibut filets
2 tablespoons grapeseed or canola oil
2 cups of fresh mushrooms (any mix), thinly sliced
1 large or 2 small shallots, thinly siced
Zest and juice from a lemon
1/2 cup white wine
2 tablespoons butter
2 cups fresh pea shoots
Salt and pepper, to taste
1. Heat 1 tablespoon butter and 1 tablespoon oil in a pan until butter lightly browns.
2. Sautee chopped shallot for 2 to 3 minutes. Season with salt and pepper, tossing or stirring often.
3. Add 1 cup fresh pea shoots and sautee for 30 seconds, until shoots are wilted. Place in a bowl and cover to keep warm.
4. Pat fish dry and season lightly.
5. In a large non-stick skillet, heat the remaining grapeseed oil and butter over medium-high heat.
6. Cook fish on medium-high heat for about 2 and a half minutes on each side, depending on thickness of fish. Place fish on a plate while you make the sauce.
7. Deglaze pan with white wine. Scrape up any browned bits on the pan with a wooden spoon. Allow wine to reduce for a couple minutes.
8. Turn off the heat. Add extra butter to enrich the sauce, and lemon juice, if preferred. Swirl to combine.
9. Plate fish on top of bed of mushrooms. Spoon over sauce. Heap pea shoots on top for a beautiful presentation.
—Posted by Kara Kotwas and Sam Bugg, Shedd Aquarium’s Right Bite team