Halibut Season at Pike Place Fish

We want to see the guys hurl that thing across the counter!

We want to see the guys hurl that thing across the counter!

Some of you might have noticed a change in season recently- the sun is shining, the temperature is rising, and, especially for us, we just can't hold in our excitement. That's right folks, it's HALIBUT season. This calls for a trip to Pike Place Market.

THE place to get your sustainable Halibut. 

THE place to get your sustainable Halibut. 

World Famous Pike Place Fish, located under the main entrance of Pike Place Market, is the only fish market at Pike Place that sells all sustainably caught fish. They are also known for their world class customer service and their fish throwing and catching skills. It also happens to be where Sarah's husband has worked for 16 years, but we mainly shop here exclusively because of the sustainability. The friendly staff is just an added bonus. ;) 

Our connection here does mean we are constantly up-to-date on when certain fish are in season as well as mouth-watering recipes to go along with the goods. Today we are giving you all the insider tips on Halibut along with a delicious recipe from the Pike Place Fish Cookbook

Watching the guys throw fish is one of our favorite things to do at the market.

Watching the guys throw fish is one of our favorite things to do at the market.

Jake will fillet any fish you would like. 

Jake will fillet any fish you would like. 

Insider Tips

  • Halibut season runs from March - November, which means you can get this great fish fresh any time except winter.
  • Pike Place Fish gets all of their halibut from Southeast Alaska, and it is all 100% sustainably caught.
  • Most of the fish weigh roughly 20 lbs, which means it takes a lot of extra effort to chuck one over the counter. When catching a halibut, you must grab onto the body AND the tail. If you don't it will be "extremely hard to land."
  • The most popular way people get halibut is a fillet, but the fishmongers advise you to not discount a steak cut. Yes, a steak cut means it will come with a bone, but they say to think of it like a T-bone steak. It will have one big bone that is easy to remove. The benefit of a steak cut is that it will have even thickness, which is helpful for cooking and the bone keeps the fish moist.
  • Halibut cheeks (the literal cheek of the fish) is another great way to enjoy this fish. Not every fish market will have them, but Pike Place Fish carries them from time to time. If you are lucky enough to be there when they are in stock, don't miss them!
  • Halibut is mild and not super fatty, which means it's very versatile. It is great in tacos, takes marinade really well, and can be baked or grilled. It is also great in stew like in this recipe below!
Caribbean Seafood Stew.

Caribbean Seafood Stew.

Caribbean Seafood Stew (from the Pike Place Fish Cookbook)

Serves 4-6

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

1 tablespoon fresh lime juice

3 teaspoons kosher salt

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

1 pound halibut, cut into 1-inch chunks 

1 medium onion, finely chopped

1 green bell pepper, stemmed, seeded, and finely chopped

6 garlic gloves, minced

1 jalapeno chile, seeded and finely chopped (use 2 if you want it hotter)

One 14.5 ounce can diced tomatoes with juice

One 14 ounce can unsweetened coconut milk

1/2 pound medium shrimp, peeled and deveined

1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro, plus more for garnish

Bottled hot pepper sauce (optional)


Stir together 1 tablespoon of the olive oil, the lime juice, 2 teaspoons of the salt, and the pepper in a medium glass bowl. Add the fish cubes and toss to coat. Set aside.

Heat the remaining 1 tablespoon oil in a 3-quart saucepan, over medium-high heat. Add the onion, bell pepper, garlic, and jalapeno. Season with remaining 1 teaspoon salt. Cook and stir for 4 to 5 minutes or until onion is tender but not brown. Add the tomatoes and juice and the coconut milk. Bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce the heat. Simmer, uncovered, for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. 

Stir in the shrimp, marinated fish, and cilantro. Return to a simmer and cook, uncovered, for 5 minutes or just until the fish flakes easily with a fork and the shrimp turn opaque. Don't overcook. Taste for salt and adjust seasoning if desired.

Ladle the stew into shallow bowls over rice. Sprinkle with cilantro and pass hot pepper sauce, if desired.