Halibut But Not as We Know It

Have you come across the white salmon? We hadn’t until we started working with Royal Greenland where the Greenland halibut comes from. It’s a flat, oily, white fish with very few bones that is very versatile. With our curiosity suitably piqued we set out to find out more.

Greenland halibut is found in the North Atlantic and the Arctic Ocean, from Canada in the west to Norway in the east. It’s is a flatfish that is dark on the upper side and lighter on the belly. It has a set of sharp teeth for hunting its prey such as prawns, krill, capelin and redfish. The Greenland halibut is also known to prey on Atlantic cod, grenadier or squid. It lives near the bottom and prefers depths of 200-2,000 metres, where water temperatures remain below 4°C.

As a fish it is highly appreciated for its snowy-white meat which has a delicate and soft texture. It is easy to cook with, recognised for its delicate flavour and extremely rich in omega-3 fatty acids.

Greenland halibut appears to have all the attributes of red salmon but the added advantage of having white flesh.

“The chef at the Food Sorcery Kitchen in Didsbury put the Greenland halibut to the test and came up with a dozen of possibilities,” Royal Greenland’s Solenne Labarere, told The Chefs’ Forum.

“He came up with ceviche, carpaccio, BBQ, pan-fried, deep-fried, curried and many more. It can take pungent flavours but also work well with more traditional flavours (brown butter, capers etc).

“We are selling the fillet skinless as it is really hard to make the skin crispy, like you would with cod for instance. The Greenland halibut has been a delicacy in Greenland for centuries, but has with good reason also won popularity around the world. It is easy to work with, almost impossible to overcook and works in numerous dishes. This makes the Greenland halibut an easily incorporated ingredient in cooking.

“The texture of the flesh is soft and tender, with a bright white appearance both cooked and raw. In terms of flavour, the Greenland halibut offers a sweet and mild umami experience, which is complimented well by a slightly sour or bitter opponent, or by a touch of salt to enhance the umami and lessen the sweetness.

“In terms of nutrition, the Greenland halibut offers a high content of healthy fat and omega-3 fatty acids, while also being a good source of vitamin D, phosphorus and selenium.

“The processing of Greenland halibut begins at our Greenlandic factories and on board our vessels. The land-based factories are located as close to the harbour as possible, to provide the shortest route from sea to processing.

“At our land-based factories, the Greenland halibut is cut into different products, such as J-cut, fillets with and without skin, frills or head-on gutted. At sea, the two trawlers Sisimiut and Tuugalik are equipped to process the Greenland halibut as a J-cut before being frozen, or simply frozen as whole round fish”.