Recipe: Seared Halibut Cheeks with Seasonal Vegetable Puree

Our group's finished dish!
Our group’s finished dish! Not as pretty as Chef’s but not too shabby for the first try.

This is the Halibut Cheek recipe, courtesy of Chef Curtis Webb ( class instructor at

The instructions are based on my notes; I made this dish for Father’s Day Dinner and my family loved it!  Due to “cheek shortage” at the market, I had to improvise and use halibut fillet; it worked just as well.

Ingredients: (serves 3-4 PPL)

Halibut Cheeks (2-3 per person; Vancouverites, cheeks can be purchased at Granville Island (

15 pc nugget (different varieties) potatoes, 3 bay leaves, 1 tbs salt, 1 liter of water, 3 sprigs of thyme, 2 Tbs Butter

Mixed Mushroom Puree: 2 cups Mixed (button, brown) mushrooms, rough chopped, 1 pc chopped shallot and 1 clove chopped garlic, 1/2 thumb ginger (grated), 1/2 cup cream, white wine

Shaved Vegetable salad: Asparagus, Beets (boiled), Baby Lettuce, Carrots and Radish with Citrus Vinaigrette (1/4 tsp lemon juice, 1tsp Extra Virgin olive oil, salt and pepper to taste)


Boil potatoes in cold water and salt (use enough water to cover potatoes), cook through, drain and set aside

In hot pan add shallot, garlic and ginger (cook until translucent), add mushroom and “sweat” the vegetables, when all liquid evaporated, add wine to deglaze, then cream and cook until fork tender.  Puree in blender set aside.

Prepare vegetable salad:

Vegetables all prepared, later toss in citrus vinaigrette
Vegetables all prepared, later toss in citrus vinaigrette

Beets (boiled, use rag to remove skin, slice with mandoline (be extra careful when using one), Asparagus (can be eaten raw or parboiled quickly in hot water and “shock” in ice bath in order to retain the crispness) then thinly sliced using vegetable peeler, Carrots (peeled, thinly sliced using peeler) and Radish (thinly sliced easier with mandoline).  Prepare vinaigrette and set aside.  Can soak vegetables in cold water to retain the colour (it will lose some flavour). Be careful when using mandoline to shave the vegetables!

To finish the dish: 

Strain the vegetables, lightly toss in vinaigrette, reheat potatoes in separate frying pan using butter, bay leave and thyme, season accordingly; reheat mushroom sauce (there’s cream, low heat)

Halibut cheeks – pat dry, season with salt and pepper, add to Hot pan (use low smoking point oil) and seared (2-3 minutes per side,cooking time depends on thickness of cheek, translucent appearance turns opaque when done).

To assemble: Spoon mushroom sauce on serving plate, then potatoes (remove bay leave/thyme), place halibut cheeks, then garnish with shaved vegetable salad. Enjoy!


2 thoughts on “Recipe: Seared Halibut Cheeks with Seasonal Vegetable Puree

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