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Published March 30th, 2011
Heavenly Halibut
By Susie Iventosch
Wild Halibut Photo Susie Iventosch

Halibut season just opened March 10, so you may be seeing fresh wild halibut in the markets soon. But, you will also notice a significantly higher price tag than last year's harvest. The is because the International Pacific Halibut Commission has recommended that, due to concern over reduced stock in the halibut population, the governments of Canada and the United States set catch limits 18.9 percent lower than last year.
With the known benefits of eating halibut, many folks will not mind paying higher prices for this season's catch.Rich in Omega 3 fatty acids, halibut provides a range of cardiovascular benefits and improves the ratio of HDL (high density lipoprotein- the good cholesterol) to LDL (bad cholesterol). It is also a good source of magnesium, Vitamin B-12, Vitamin B-6 and folic acid. Omega 3 fatty acids can also lower triglycerides- a kind of fat carried in the blood stream, reduce the risk of certain types of cancer and even fend off both early and late age-related macular degeneration. Halibut is also believed to have properties that fight against Alzheimer's disease.
It seems like one might need a prescription for such a dose of health, but a large helping of cash is all it takes! And, it really is not all that pricey, when compared to sea bass or lobster!
At Diablo Foods in Lafayette, seafood manager Ray Snyder said he is carrying filets of local halibut, and steaks of the thicker and more expensive Alaskan halibut. Local halibut filets are running $24.99 per pound, while the Alaskan steaks are $20.99 per pound.
"You cannot tell the difference in flavor," Snyder pointed out. "But the price points on the Alaskan halibut are too high right now to yield filets. The lower limit causes prices to increase, but in the long run, it is a good thing to ensure the fish population is sustainable."
He said the store should have halibut in stock from now through September, but customers can always call ahead to place orders, to ensure getting what they need.
At a restaurant outing a few weeks ago,the menu featured halibut served with roasted red pepper puree, saffron risotto and a black pepper-Parmesan crisp. It sounded so marvelous that my husband and I both ordered it! Were we ever glad we did ... it was divine. I tried replicating it at home for my friend's birthday dinner and we were all very pleased with the results!
With the advent of halibut season,it is perfect timing for you to try this dish at home. The roasted red pepper sauce with a hint of lemon, and saffron risotto accent the mild taste of the halibut beautifully.
For all the information you could ever want about Pacific halibut, from determining the age of your catch to how to cook it in a variety of ways, and an assortment of recipes, please visit: http://www.iphc.washington.edu/
Other sources: http://www.medicinalnature.com/health-benefits-of-halibut/; http://lifestyle.iloveindia.com/lounge/benefits-of-halibut-6296.html


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