Pacific Prize: Halibut


Published Spring, 2010 Edible Portland

Eagerly anticipated signs of spring--like warmer temps and blue skies--are often slow to arrive in the Pacific Northwest, but we see edible indicators everywhere: chervil, asparagus, rhubarb, fiddleheads, morels. Unbeknownst to many, the season for Pacific halibut is also upon us. The firm, slightly sweet white-fleshed fish is widely available and at its peak between March and September, mostly supplied by Alaska's glacial waters.


Fewer halibut swim off of Oregon's coast, but their journey and flavor are no less impressive. The opportunity to buy just-caught Oregon halibut, or reel one in yourself, arrives midsummer, during two to three 24-hour blitzes of regulated derby-style fishing, weather be damned. When the predetermined quota for our region--the coastal stretch from California to Washington--is met, the season closes. But in the Gulf of Alaska, where the highest concentration of Pacific halibut is found, there's fishing to be done now.

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