Pan-Seared Wild Pacific Halibut With Avocado Risotto

Adapted from the recipe created by Duncan Ly as featured in The Wickaninnish Cookbook.


By Chef Duncan Ly while at The Wickaninnish Inn

Chef’s Note: Halibut caught in the waters off British Columbia’s west coast in among the world’s greatest seafood delicacies. With a mild taste but sturdy texture, it pairs beautifully with a wide range of flavours. Here Chef Ly keeps the seasonings simple to highlight the beauty of the fish, but serves it with an earthy risotto rice with wild mushrooms and creamy avocado. Take care not to overcook the halibut – it takes only seconds to go from perfectly done to dry and disappointing.



  • 4 cups - chicken stock

  • 2 Tbsp - olive oil

  • 1 - small onion, diced small

  • 1 cup - uncooked arborio rice

  • ½ cup - chopped fresh morels (or dried and reconstituted with hot water)

  • 1 - avocado, diced

  • 2 Tbsp - butter

  • ¼ cup -grated parmesan cheese, or to taste

  • 1 Tbsp - chopped chives

  • salt and cracked black pepper

Wild Pacific Halibut

  • 1 Tbsp - olive oil, plus additional for garnish

  • 4 - fillets fresh Wild Pacific Halibut, 5 oz each

  • salt and cracked black pepper

Preheat oven to 350° F (180° C).


In a small pot, bring the stock to a simmer and keep it hot while you cook the risotto.

In an 8 cup saucepan over medium heat, heat the olive oil. Add the onions and cook until they are tender and translucent; continue cooking for 5 minutes. Add the rice and stir to coat with the oil and onion mixture. Continue cooking for about 3 minutes or until the rice is opaque.

Stir ½ cup of the hot chicken broth into the rice mixture. Cook and stir until the broth is absorbed, maintaining the rice mixture at a gentle simmer. Continue cooking and adding the remaining stock, ½ a cup at a time, stirring the rice mixture after each addition.

After about 15 minutes, stir in the mushrooms and continue cooking for another 10 minutes, still adding stock whenever it begins to look dry, until the stock has all been absorbed. The rice should be cooked but still firm in texture. Stir in the avocado, butter, cheese, and chives. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

In the last few minutes of cooking time for the risotto, prepare the halibut.

Wild Pacific Halibut

In a 12-inch oven-proof skillet over medium-high heat, heat the oil. Season the halibut fillets with salt and pepper. Place the halibut fillets in the skillet and cook for about 4 to 5 minutes or until the halibut is golden brown.

Using a spatula, flip the halibut fillets over and place in the oven, still in the skillet. Continue cooking for about 4 more minutes or until the halibut is cooked. The fish should flake easily when pressed with a fork but should still be slightly translucent in the centre.

Divide the risotto between four dinner plates. Top the risotto with the halibut and drizzle the plate with some olive oil.

Serves 4

Recipe copyright ©2018 by The Wickaninnish Inn. All rights reserved. Featured with permission.

January 2019