Halibut cheeks are a tasty addition to any seafood lover’s repertoire.
It may seem like an odd choice at first glance, but once you try this dish out, you will see that they go perfectly with everything from sweet potato fries to pasta.
The fact that these fishy delights are low-calorie, high in protein, and rich in omega 3 fatty acids makes them ideal for anyone looking to get their fill without feeling too bloated or guilty afterwards.
What Is A Halibut Cheek?
These small pieces of meat come from the halibut’s lower jawbone.
The flesh itself isn’t as popular as other types of fish because it can be quite tough to chew.
However, when cooked properly, it has a distinctive flavor.
In order to make sure your mouth doesn’t end up hurting after eating one of these delicacies, we have gathered some tips on how to prepare halibut cheeks so that you don’t experience any pain while chomping down on them.
How to clean halibut cheeks
- To begin with, wash each piece thoroughly before cutting them into smaller portions.
- Once prepared, dry off each portion by placing it onto paper towels until all excess moisture evaporates entirely.
- Lastly, keep them covered in plastic wrap or aluminum foil before freezing them.
How to cut halibut cheeks
- First, remove all bones using tweezers or pliers.
- Next, place the fillets between two sheets of parchment paper, then use a sharp knife to slice through the skin and fat.
- After slicing through the fat layer, gently separate the flesh from the remaining membrane.
- Finally, rinse the halibut cheeks under cold water to remove any blood clots or debris from the muscle fibers.
Tips for cooking halibut cheeks
Now that you know what they look like and how to prep them, let us show you how to cook halibut cheeks!
What Is The Best Way To Cook Halibut Cheeks?
If you want to make sure your halibut cheeks taste as good as possible, there are several ways to prepare them.
- Pan fry: Pan frying is just one method used by chefs to cook halibut cheeks. You can use either oil or butter depending on how much fat content you would prefer.
- Bake: Halibut cheeks are also known as “fish cakes” because they have a similar texture when baked.
- Poach: Poaching is another popular method used to prepare halibut cheeks. The trick here is to poach them in broth instead of water.
- Deep fry: Deep frying is probably not something most people do often, but if you enjoy deep fried foods then you might consider trying this technique to prepare halibut cheeks. They are simple to make since all you need is enough olive oil to coat the pan and heat until hot.
What Is The Nutritional Value Of Halibut Cheeks?
Halibut cheeks come packed full of nutrients that can help boost your immune system, lower cholesterol levels, reduce blood pressure, and even improve memory performance.
They contain more than 100% daily values (DV) of vitamin A per serving, which helps protect against vision loss, and almost 90% DV of calcium, which supports healthy bones as well as muscle function.
These little morsels also offer over 50% DV of iron, making sure that everyone who eats this dish gets enough of one of our most important minerals.
In terms of fat content, halibut cheeks have just 1 gram of total fat per ounce, which means that you don’t need to worry about feeling overly stuffed after eating this.
This particular type of whitefish contains only trace amounts of mercury, so if you want to keep your body safe while having fun outdoors, you should definitely give this superfood a try!
How Do Halibut Cheeks Compare To Other Fish?
Halibut cheeks come from the chin region of the halibut body.
They weigh around 1/3 pound (150 grams) each and can be cooked whole, skin on, or removed before cooking.
The bones make up most of the meat so there isn’t much fat to worry about when choosing between different types of fish.
If you prefer your food leaner, then choose another type of whitefish such as cod or haddock instead.
Halibut cheeks have more flavor than those two options, though, which means you might want to pair them with something else if you don’t eat fish often.
When it comes to calories per serving, halibut cheeks contain less than half the amount found in shrimp and are comparable to salmon and tuna.
A single portion contains just over 100 calories, 13 percent of the recommended daily intake of protein, 5.7 grams of carbohydrates, and 2.9 grams of total fats.
What Are Some Interesting Facts About Halibut Cheeks?
Halibut cheeks have been around since the 19th century.
They were originally used as bait by fishermen because of their size and firm texture.
However, now they can be found on menus across America and Europe.
They are usually served whole, fried, or grilled.
But if you want to enjoy them raw, you just need to remove the bones and skin and then cut them into cubes so that your guests don’t feel uncomfortable eating them while still wearing their rings!
If you love salmon, you probably already know that halibut cheeks are similar to its cousins.
In fact, many people who buy halibut often end up buying halibut cheeks instead.
Here are some more fun facts about halibut cheeks:
- There are two types of halibut cheeks – Atlantic and Pacific varieties. The difference between them lies mainly in the size of the muscle fibers, which gives them slightly different textures.
- You can find halibut cheeks both fresh and frozen. Fresh ones are best eaten within one month after being caught. Frozen ones last longer, but they must be thawed before cooking.
- Fresh halibut cheeks should be soaked overnight in water beforehand to make sure they cook properly.
- As far as nutrients go, halibut cheeks contain all essential amino acids and vitamins A, D, E, K, B1, B6, C, and P. They also provide 10 grams of fiber per serving.
- Although not particularly popular right now, halibut cheeks are sometimes offered as part of a special menu during the holidays.
- The average weight of a single halibut cheek is 2.5 ounces (72 grams). That means you would only need four servings to meet your daily recommended intake of vitamin D.
- Because halibut cheeks are very lean, you won’t experience much flavor when you eat them alone. If you pair them with something else, however, the flavors become richer and more intense.
What Are Some Common Misconceptions About Halibut Cheeks?
A lot of people think that halibut has little nutritional value, because it doesn’t contain much fat.
While the average serving size does have less than half a gram of fat per ounce (about one tablespoon), it also contains around two grams of protein and six percent of its calories as omega 3 fatty acids.
But don’t let those numbers fool you! Halibut cheeks pack quite a punch when it comes to nutrition.
They offer vitamin D3, essential amino acids, iron, potassium, phosphorus, copper, selenium, zinc, manganese, calcium, magnesium, riboflavin, niacin, pantothenic acid, and B6.
They also come with plenty of beneficial fats, including polyunsaturated fatty acids, monounsaturated fatty acids, and saturated fatty acids.
All of these nutrients help your body maintain strong bones, healthy skin, and good cholesterol levels.
Because halibut cheeks are so nutritious, many chefs recommend eating them in place of other fatty meats like beef, lamb, pork, chicken, turkey, etc., which can be hard on your stomach after a long day of work.
How Can I Incorporate Halibut Cheeks Into My Diet?
Halibut cheeks are perfect for incorporating into your weekly meals because of how versatile they are.
They take well to just about anything when paired with the right ingredients.
You could easily make this a main course by serving it on top of a bed of couscous, rice pilaf, or even mashed potatoes.
However, if you’re looking to add more variety to your menu, you might consider making a side dish instead.
- Sweet Potato Fries – If you were wondering what to do with leftover sweet potatoes after Halloween, then look no further than these crispy little morsels. Sweet potatoes are naturally gluten free so they pair nicely with halibut cheeks as long as you stick with a simple marinade.
- Spaghetti Bolognese – Halibut cheeks have a meatier texture which pairs well with spaghetti sauce, so you don’t need much else beyond those two basic ingredients in order to create a full meal.
- Pasta Salad – Pasta salads are one of our favorite summertime dishes, especially when you combine fresh veggies with creamy tomato dressing. The same goes for pasta salad, only swap out the tomatoes for halibut cheeks.
- Macaroni Casserole – Macaroni casseroles are another one of our all time favorites, especially when you use halibut cheek pieces instead of ground beef. Just be sure to drain off excess water before adding the macaroni to avoid any clumping issues.
What Are Some Creative Ways To Serve Halibut Cheeks?
We have rounded up the best recipes below which help you showcase your culinary skills while still staying true to the flavor profile of halibut cheeks.
- Quick Salmon Fish Sticks With Lemon Dill Sauce (Recipe)
- Sweet Potato Fries With Herbed Avocado Dip (Recipe)
- Stuffed Pasta Shells With Halibut Cheeks And Tomato Basil Cream Sauce (Recipe)
- Easy Halibut Fillet Recipe (Recipe)
- Fried Chicken & Waffles With Smoky Pimento Cheese Cauliflower Crema Topping (Recipe)
- Crispy Fried Egg Sandwich With Bacon, Swiss Chard & Halibut Cheek Spread (Recipe)
- Chocolate Chip Cookies With Caramelized Bananas In The Center (Recipe)
- Baked Macaroni & Cheese With Roasted Brussels Sprouts (Recipe)
- Roast Beef Tenderloin Medallions With Herb Butter Sauce (Recipe)
- Honey Garlic Shrimp Scampi (Recipe)
- Chicken Tikka Masala (Recipe)
- Spicy Sausage Jambalaya (Recipe)
- Pork Lo Mein Stir Fry (Recipe)
- Shrimp Fried Rice (Recipe)
- Homemade French Bread Pizza (Recipe)
- Lemon Poppy Seed Cake With Fresh Berries (Recipe)
- Coconut Curry Soup (Recipe)
- Tuna Noodle Casserole (Recipe)
- Ginger Lime Pork Ribs (Recipe)
- Herb Crusted Tilapia (Recipe)
- Crab Rangoon Salad (Recipe)
- Turkey Taco Meatballs (recipe)
- Eggplant Parmesan Rollatini (Recipe)
- Grilled Vegetable Quesadilla (Recipe)
- Salmon Poke Bowl (Recipe)
- Sushi Rolls With Spicy Peanut Dipping Sauce (Recipe)
Are Halibut Cheeks Sustainable?
As far as sustainability goes, there isn’t much to worry about when it comes to halibut cheeks.
They are a fairly common species within the family Scombridae.
Halibut have been around since prehistoric times and are often found on beaches all over the world.
As such, they can be quite resilient creatures.
In fact, many scientists believe that they have adapted well enough to thrive in polluted waters because they simply don’t need clean water to survive.
This means that if we leave them alone, they should continue to live just fine.
However, if we disrupt their natural habitat by destroying reefs, polluting rivers, or otherwise altering ecosystems, then we could potentially end up harming our most important food source.
In other words, while halibut are known to be pretty tough, it is possible that they might not stand the test of time if humans keep messing things up.
Luckily, though, there aren’t any major issues regarding sustainability right now.
What Are The Ethical Considerations Of Eating Halibut Cheeks?
Like all other types of fish, halibut cheeks carry some environmental risks when caught by trawlers.
However, unlike most fish, they do not have a long lifespan before being harvested.
Instead, they are typically only used as bait during fishing season, which means that there is less impact on the environment overall.
Most people who eat halibut cheeks tend to be aware of how far the fish has traveled to reach its final destination.
For example, many restaurants source their fish directly from local fishermen, ensuring that the food served is fresh and safe.
However, if you want to learn more about the ethics behind your favorite dishes, check out our guide to veganism here.
- 1 Pan
For the fish:
- 1 lb Halibut Cheeks
- 1 tsp grapeseed oil
- 1/4 lemon
- 1 tsp fresh dill
- 1 tsp butter
For the beurre blanc:
- 1 tbsp shallots
- 2 tbsp white wine
- 2 tbsp lemon juice
- 8 tbsp butter
- salt and pepper
- The beurre blanc should be made first. Cube the butter into small pieces and keep aside. A small saucepan is warmed to medium-low. Add the white wine, lemon juice, and shallots. The liquid should be brought to a simmer and reduced until it resembles thin syrup. Turn the heat down low and whisk in the butter gradually. If desired, season with salt and pepper. Add the chopped dill after stirring. While you cook the fish, keep the sauce warm and whisk it occasionally.
- A nonstick pan should be heated to medium. Add the fish-specific amounts of oil and butter. Dry the halibut cheeks with a paper towel before salting them. Fish should be fried for 1 to 2 minutes on each side or until the inside is completely done. Lemon over the fish, please. Serve the fish right away after adding the beurre blanc on the top. Enjoy!