Halibut is an expensive delicacy with its meaty taste and delicate but subtly sweet flavor. The versatile and boneless fish is available throughout the year, which makes it a great choice for many recipes. Thanks to its popularity, it also tends to be expensive. Besides, it’s not as commonly available everywhere. So, you might occasionally want to try a halibut substitute.
It can be a tough job for any fish to stand up to the same flavor and versatility of halibut. So, it usually makes sense to use substitutes depending on the recipe and specific requirements.
If you find yourself in a fix, give these options a try.
Top Substitutes For Halibut
Flounder is a flatfish like halibut and is usually found in the Atlantic and Pacific oceans. This one’s a good choice if you want a fish that doesn’t have that usual fishy taste. It is as flavorful as halibut and remains moist even after cooking.
This fish is very versatile and can work with most cooking preferences. However, it doesn’t quite go well with grilling because of its texture. The sweet and tender meat of the flounder is enjoyable and delicious. You’ll find that this fish makes a good choice by itself, or when used as a substitute.
Turbot is a flatfish as well, usually found near the shore in sandy waters. Compared to halibut, it has a stronger fishy flavor, though it also offers the same delicate taste and sweetness. Turbot’s white and firm flesh is quite similar to that of halibut.
This fish is very versatile and goes with most cooking methods. It’s preferable to cook turbot with wet heat cooking methods like poaching or steaming. It’s possible to fry, bake, or grill it. Pay special attention when grilling turbot, as the fish tends to turn chewy rather quickly.
Cod is a popular fish that’s easily available and thus fit to use if you’re in need of a quick fix. This cold water fish is found in the ocean and has a texture and sweet taste very similar to halibut.
The fish has tender flesh, so be extra careful when cooking it. Cod works with most cooking methods, including grilling, so feel free to use it to your preferences. Its mild taste isn’t strongly fishy, so cod can be a good choice for those trying to avoid strong fish flavors and smells.
4. Striped Bass
Striped bass has several names including Atlantic Striped Bass and rockfish. The fish is fairly popular and happens to be the state fish of many states on (or close to) the Atlantic coast. As food, the fish offers white meat, medium texture, and a mild flavor. All of these are quite similar to those offered by halibut.
This is an incredibly versatile fish and can go along with practically all cooking preferences. Steam it, grill it, or go with anything else – the striped bass will give you a delicacy!
As a member of the cod family, haddock has several properties that make it a good substitute for halibut. It doesn’t have a strong fish flavor and its lean white flesh offers a mild taste. The fish is versatile as food, but there are a few limitations on its cooking. Grilling it won’t yield the best results and steaming can make it overly dry and chewy. Other cooking methods like baking and deep-frying work like a charm.
Dogfish matches halibut in texture, but its color can have a reddish hue. As flavor goes, it is mild and sweet but does have a fair bit of that fishy flavor. Generally speaking, it is an acceptable choice for replacing halibut and the small change in color usually isn’t a problem.
It is by no “fluke” that fluke can serve as a replacement for halibut. This fish too has a white flesh, mild flavor, with a wonderfully fine texture. It doesn’t have a fishy flavor and its smell isn’t fishy either. This is an excellent choice for those who find the fishy smells and flavor unacceptable in a recipe.
Fluke’s flavor and texture are very similar to that of halibut. Plus, this fish is very versatile. That said, the best way to cook fluke is to pan-fry or bake it. Though it’s pretty good for sushi as well.
Sole is a flatfish variety that shares a lot of its characteristics with halibut. Its flavor and texture are pretty similar to that of halibut, though it’s mildly sweet. Sole is a versatile fish offering clean-tasting flavors.
Excellent as this fish is, it might be a bit difficult to source Stateside. Sole is usually found in the Mediterranean and eastern Atlantic.
9. Orange Roughy
Orange roughy is an excellent fish and can work with most cooking methods. The versatility of this fish and its mild, delicate flavor are what make it a useful halibut replacement in a recipe. Yet, its different texture can pose some problems.
Even more so, it’s the fact that orange roughy is a deep sea fish that’s fairly expensive and not as readily available. It might be better to use this fish for its own recipe, rather than plowing it in as a replacement. There are plenty of other choices available for that!
Orange roughy is a very versatile fish and can work with most cooking preferences and methods.
Tilapia makes for a decent substitute for halibut. This is a choice to consider when budget is the primary motivation for replacing halibut in the recipe. Tilapia has a stronger flavor with medium-firm texture. The fishy flavors and smell are stronger here, putting it in a slightly different category. Tilapia is good for most cooking methods, but avoid grilling or deep-frying this fish.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
Can You Substitute Cod For Halibut?
Substituting cod for halibut is possible and it works fine. Cod and halibut both have delicate texture, mildly sweet taste, and low fishy smell and taste. These qualities make it possible to use cod in place of halibut. Indeed, the versatility of cod makes for a useful choice as it can work with most cooking preferences, including grilling.
Can You Eat Halibut Skin?
There is no harm in eating halibut skin, but there is no reason to eat it. Halibut skin is tough, has a rubbery texture, and doesn’t taste good at all. On the other hand, halibut is a delicious fish with several parts considered delicacies. It’s a delicious fish to enjoy and there’s no need to spoil that wonderful taste and texture by trying to eat halibut skin.
There are various preferences on when to remove halibut skin before you eat the fish. Some prefer to do it before cooking, while others handle this part during or after cooking. Whatever method you choose, remember that you shouldn’t eat halibut skin.
Picking Your Choice For Replacing Halibut
Halibut is a delicacy and a very versatile fish. Finding the right halibut substitute will usually depend on your budget or the specific qualities that you want. Choosing similar flatfish is a good option, and flounder, turbot, haddock, sole, and tilapia work well. However, you can also use more commonly available fish like cod and striped bass as decent substitutes.