Freshly picked spruce tips season perfectly cooked halibut.

Spruce tips are easy to find here in Alaska when temperatures are just starting to get warmer and the forest is waking up. Their bright fresh flavor is citrusy with a touch of pine that complements fish beautifully in this Spruce Butter Halibut.

Ingredients for Spruce Butter Halibut

  • Handful of fresh spruce tips (approximately one tip for each serving)
  • Halibut Steaks (one portion per serving)
  • Cooking Oil (I like avocado)
  • Butter (1 pat per serving)
  • Freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • Salt and Pepper to taste

  1. Collect and clean spruce tips.

    See my post about how to collect spruce tips in early spring. You only need a few for this recipe– approximately one tip for each halibut steak.

  2. Dry Halibut Steaks with paper towels

    Drying your fish before cooking will improve the browning in the pan.

  3. Heat non stick or well seasoned cast iron skillet

    It’s better to heat it for longer over lower heat, but you definitely want to be sure your pan is very hot. Add a small amount of oil if needed to coat pan and ensure the surface is non stick.

  4. Sprinkle pan with a tiny bit of sea salt.

    This will help the pan release the fish when it’s time to turn it.

  5. Brown fish on one side until dark golden brown and then flip.

    Don’t be tempted to flip it before it’s ready. It really depends on moisture content and the temperature of your fish, but 3-5 minutes seems to be a good benchmark.

  6. Flip fish carefully.

    Try to keep the surface of the fish intact as that nice brown coating not only tastes delicious, but also looks good.

  7. Add a pat of butter and sprinkle of chopped spruce tips to eat steak.

    You can adjust the temperature of the pan slightly lower at this point.

  8. Sprinkle with lemon juice.

    Once fish is cooked through turn off heat and sprinkle with lemon juice.


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About Mary

Mary Stephens holds a degree in international affairs from Georgetown University and a Masters in Teaching from the American University. Mary spent almost twenty years homeschooling her four children and is now navigating post homeschool life in Alaska. She offers personal insights, recipes, homeschooling tips and tricks and travel advice on her website Mary also owns Christopher Travel, a luxury travel company specializing in exquisite vacations around the globe.

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