This juicy Norwegian halibut recipe is served with a slightly sweet whipped sour cream and vinegary cucumber salad. It is one of many Christmas dinners in Norway, but it is so good and SO EASY we should make it more often! Anyone can make this recipe, and it's actually quite easy to make for just one or two people as well.
Let's welcome my first ever fish recipe on this blog. I might be Norwegian, in the fishiest part of Norway too, but fish isn't my thing. Any fish that actually tastes like fish (hello, salmon, I'm looking at you) and I'm out.
However, halibut is not that kind of fish. It is actually delicious, especially with these sides. You can make this dish for anyone in the family, whether they like fish or not, and I'm sure they will love it.
I am in the process of sharing all my favorite fish-for-people-that-doesn't-like-fish recipes, but this is the first of the bunch. So stay tuned for the rest!
Update: I've also added this delicious weeknight dinner: breaded pollock with caramelized onions!
The best way to prepare halibut
I prefer to use frozen fish for this halibut recipe. It thaws in no time using this method. You actually start cooking the fish directly from frozen.
Fish should not be cooked in boiling water, but rather poached in a temperature of around 160-175F (70-80C), in order to not damage the delicate fish meat.
By poaching I mean you boil the salted water with 1 teaspoon vinegar, set it aside and let it cool for a couple of minutes. Then add the fish and put on the lid.
You should mimic the salt levels in the sea when poaching fish. The salt binds the juices in the fish. You should use about 1 tablespoon salt per liter (4 cups) of water. Generally, you should use 3 times as much water as fish.
From frozen, it takes about 15 minutes to poach the halibut. You can see that the fish turns white and it is done when it is flaky. If you have really thick pieces of fish you should make sure to have the casserole over low heat while poaching.
Run it quickly under running water and blot dry with a paper towel. Leave it on a plate in the refrigerator if you want to serve it cold, or serve right away if not. If you serve it hot, make sure you prepare the sides at the same time.
Yup, everything takes less than 30 minutes!
Do you serve it hot or cold?
This halibut recipe could be prepared and eaten both hot or cold. I have tried both, and I absolutely prefer it cold. It's something about the texture of the cold fish that is very appealing to me. It gets firmer, feels meatier. I love it. But you could just as well serve it hot and it is juicier.
Whipped sour cream
The things that make this Norwegian Christmas dinner SO good, are the side dishes. And they are almost disturbingly easy to make. The whipped sour cream is so creamy, tangy and slightly sweetened. The touch of sugar really takes this sour cream to a whole different level!
To make it, simply whip sour cream and sugar until fluffy, about 1-2 minutes when using a handheld mixer. Set aside until ready to eat.
The sour cream should be fatty, preferably around 35% (Seterrømme in Norway), in order to whip it. If you can't find that, then opt for a full-fat Crème Fraîche instead. However, you could also use regular sour cream, but that wouldn't be as fluffy. In the United States, these other items are either placed next to the sour cream or next to specialty cheeses.
Vinegary cucumber salad
But it's also very important with the vinegary cucumber salad. The sour, yet fresh combination is perfect with the sweet sour cream and juicy fish.
I like to roughly peel the cucumber, just to give it some flare. You can completely peel it, or not peel it at all. Then slice it thinly and combine with vinegar, sugar, salt and pepper. It gets better if you let it sit for 30-60 minutes before serving it.
It could also be made in the morning and served in the evening, just store it covered in the fridge until ready to eat!
Before serving, boil potatoes (I love fingerling potatoes), and melt some butter. Plate the warm or cold fish, serve with the cucumber salad and potatoes, dollop some whipped sour cream on the side and drizzle melted butter over the fish and potatoes. And don't forget the white wine - enjoy!
If you want to, you can serve the fish with the skin on like this, or you can take it off. Either way, the skin shouldn't be eaten, only for presentation!
Don't forget that a Christmas dinner isn't a Christmas dinner if it isn't followed by dessert. My favorite desserts after a meal like this include (but are not limited to) a crème brûlée, chocolate pudding, coconut cranberry trifle, whipped cream and krumkake or a Christmas pavlova!
Did you like this recipe? Here are more festive dinners I think you would like:
- Whole roasted chicken with orange pepper
- Citrus rosemary turkey breast
- Pumpkin gnocchi with crispy sage and chanterelles
- Orange Szechuan beef and carrots
- Rosemary garlic steak with peri peri cream sauce
- Balsamic honey brussels sprouts
I’d love to hear your thoughts. Comment below or tag me @thegingerwithspice on Instagram. And don’t forget to Pin it for later! To make sure you’re never missing another recipe, please feel free to subscribe to my newsletter. As a thanks you will receive a free e-cookbook Travels Through the Seasons, with many delicious recipes from around the world that suit different seasons of the year.
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