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California Halibut

California halibut, is a species of flatfish found along the coasts of Mexico up to British Columbia, Canada. Halibut in general have two eyes on one side; this lets them see the world above while lying flat and still on the sandy seafloor. The ultimate couch potatoes, if you will. On the side with eyes, the Halibut is green-brown in color to camouflage with its habitat while its underside is white. Don’t let its lazy appearance fool you though! The Halibut will ambush its prey of small fish, waiting to strike with its sharp teeth and large mouth.

Lucky for us in Santa Cruz, Halibut live most abundantly south of San Francisco and fishermen can find them throughout Monterey Bay. They are fished using “hook and line,” a method that is commonly used to catch fish on the seafloor. Hook and line gear consists of artificial or real bait placed on a hook at the end of the fishing line. Imagine a bunch of fishing poles hanging off the side of a boat. Often regarded as a sustainable fishing method, hook and line does little to no damage on the seafloor, is species selective, and therefore minimizes bycatch, which are unintentionally caught fish.

The California halibut is a white fish with mild taste and firm, big flakes.

All I hear is versatile in the kitchen! Enhance its natural flavors by poaching, grilling, or baking it with lemon, a pat of butter, and your favorite herb. Pan sear one side if you’re the type to enjoy a crispy skin (who’s not?). Or, go crazy and batter up! Host fish ‘n’ chips night and don’t forget ample tartar sauce or beers in hand.

Fun fact: the California halibut is often confused with the Pacific halibut, but they’re actually two different species! You can tell by three major differences. 

  1. First, the Pacific halibut is more diamond shaped while the Halibut is more rounded, resembling an oval. 
  2. Second, California halibut is much smaller than the Pacific halibut, which is the largest species of flatfish. 
  3. Third, the Pacific halibut and California halibut both start out life with eyes on either sides of their head. Over time, both eyes will migrate to one side. Pacific halibut are right-eyed, meaning that the left eye will eventually migrate to the right side. California halibut are a bit two-faced :) and can be left or right-eyed. 

We hope you give California halibut a try! They’re delicious and we can’t wait to see how you enjoy them! Feel free to share photos and/or your halibut recipe by tagging us on Instagram (@hhfreshfishco) or shooting us an email at [email protected].

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