Pan Seared Halibut in Garlic White Wine Sauce

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Easy pan seared halibut fillets in a lemon garlic white wine sauce, with heirloom cherry tomatoes and fresh basil.

Pan Seared Halibut Fillets in Garlic White Wine Sauce with Heirloom Tomatoes and Basil in a Cast Iron Skillet

Pan Seared Halibut in Garlic White Wine Sauce

A riff on my garlic chicken in white wine sauce, only this is done in 15 minutes, on the stovetop in my cast iron skillet. 

An easy weeknight dinner that goes well with steamed asparagus, aglio e olio capellini noodles, over a smooth green pea puree or a creamy saffron risotto.

Image of Pan Seared Halibut Fillets in White Wine sauce

Recipe Tips:

  • It’s very important to bring the fish to room temperature for 15 to 20 minutes before cooking it in a seasoned cast iron skillet, so it won’t stick.
  • Don’t walk away from the pan! Fish cooks super fast so watch it like a hawk. A couple of minutes max on each side is all it needs. Make sure to remove it from the pan while still a little opaque in the center.
  • Use the same pan to make a quick sauce with garlic and juicy tomatoes, a crisp white wine and lots of zesty lemon.
  • Recipe variations: you could also use the same recipe to make this dish with cod, shrimp, lobster tails, clams, mussels or scallops.

Pan Seared Halibut Fillets in Garlic White Wine Sauce with Heirloom Tomatoes and Basil in a Cast Iron Skillet

4.86 from 7 votes

Pan Seared Halibut in Garlic White Wine Sauce

Healthy and easy pan seared halibut fillets in a lemon garlic white wine sauce, with heirloom cherry tomatoes and fresh basil.
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  • Bring the fish to room temperature for 20 minutes and pat dry all over with paper towels.
  • Season well on both sides with a good pinch of sea salt and the freshly cracked black pepper.
  • Heat up one tablespoon of the olive oil in a cast iron skillet on medium flame.
  • Gently place the fish in the pan and sear for about 2 minutes on each side depending on the thickness. Use a spatula to carefully flip them without breaking. Transfer to a plate and keep warm.

Make the Garlic White Wine Sauce

  • Add another tablespoon of olive oil to the skillet and stir in the grated garlic. cook for about 15 seconds taking good care not to let it burn. Stir in the tomatoes and a pinch of salt then hit it with the white wine.
  • Allow the sauce to simmer for a few minutes until the tomatoes burst and release their juices.
  • Transfer the cooked fish back into the pan and just heat through for another minute or so. 
  • Remove from heat and hit it with a good squeeze of lemon juice.
  • Serve with a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil and garnished with the fresh basil.


Calories: 117kcal | Carbohydrates: 3g | Fat: 10g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 1mg | Potassium: 51mg | Vitamin A: 80IU | Vitamin C: 14.6mg | Calcium: 10mg | Iron: 0.3mg
Course: Entree
Cuisine: Italian
Servings: 4 people
Calories: 117kcal
Author: Florentina

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  1. 5 stars
    Add a little butter after the fish sears. Also add capers when you add the tomatoes. Works great with striped bass and snapper as well as halibut.

  2. 5 stars
    Great recipe and quick too. Got some alaska halibut from my local meat/fish market, B&E Meats, and tossed it in the pan. I love garlic and cilantro. I added a bit of sour cream to thicken the sauce. What a meal. Thanks for your information and instructions.

  3. 5 stars
    This is INCREDIBLE! Only “changes” I made was I used cod, that’s what I had, & also let the tomatoes, garlic & basil marinate in the olive oil for a few hours & just added them all @ once to the pan. Both my husband & I literally licked our plates clean!

  4. Wow! This was amazing!!! I totally skipped first step. I had prepared my garlic, tomatoes, and red pepper, and onion. Sautéed and then added the wine, I nestled the fish in the mixture n put it right into the oven to poach. Oh! And I added the basil n fresh savoury. Flavours were amazing!!! Will make this a def. repeat! Thanks Florentina for the recipe boost! Always trying to find something new to cook! I am a new owner of my first cast iron! I LOVE it! Cheers!

  5. 5 stars
    Made this with fresh caught Alaskan Halibut after my husband returned home from his fishing trip. Absolutely delicious! I forgot the Basil while grocery shopping, but I didn’t miss it in the recipe. . Served it over quinoa and with a side of grilled asparagus. Thank you for such an easy, delicious meal, which was equally as good as leftovers.

  6. 5 stars
    This was excellent, I added scallops and shrimp. It was so good we had it two nights in a row but with cod the second dinner. Still amazing!

  7. Am missing something? I don’t see the garlic mentioned in the ingredients, just in the title and directions .

    1. Hi Brenda, you need about 4 cloves of garlic depending on your taste. Maybe there was a glitch in the recipe plugin, I can see all the ingredients. Let me know If you are still having trouble ~ Florentina