Pancetta Wrapped Halibut

Pancetta Wrapped Halibut


Smoky pancetta wrapped halibut served with a Dijon cream sauce and sautéed cabbage.
  • Serves: 4
  • Active Time: 1 hr
  • Total Time: 1 hr 45 mins
  • Views: 52,294
  • Success Rating: 96% (?)
    0% - I fed it to the dog


Step 1: Making the Dijon Cream Sauce

• 2 tbsp unsalted butter
• 2 tbsp minced shallots
• 1/4 cup white wine
• 2 cups heavy cream
• 1 tbsp Dijon mustard
• 1/2 tsp kosher salt
• 1/8 tsp ground white pepper


Heat a fry pan over medium heat. Add the butter and minced shallots. Saute for about one minute and then add the white wine. Let reduce until only a few tablespoons of liquid remain.

Next, add the cream. Bring it to a boil and then reduce the heat to medium-low. Let the sauce reduce by at least half, whisking occasionally. This will take approximately 10 to 15 minutes on medium-low heat. Make sure the cream does not boil over. The sauce should be thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. Once done, stir in the Dijon mustard and season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve immediately or keep warm, covered in a bain marie.

Step 2: Preparing and Wrapping the Halibut

• four 5 oz pieces halibut
• 1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
• 24 pieces thinly-sliced pancetta


Season each piece of halibut with freshly ground black pepper.

Wrap each piece of halibut with 6 slices of pancetta: 3 on the top and 3 on the bottom. Overlap each slice and take care to wrap the edges. Lightly squeeze the pancetta and halibut to seal it together.

Place into the refrigerator while you prepare the cabbage. This can even be done a few hours in advance.

Step 3: Sautéing the Cabbage

• 1/2 head cabbage
• 2 tbsp unsalted butter
• 1/4 tsp kosher salt


Remove the core from the cabbage. remove the outer leaves and discard. Dice the cabbage.

Heat a large, stainless-steel pan over medium to medium-high heat and add the butter. Once it starts to brown, add the cabbage and saute for about 5 to 10 minutes or until it starts to soften but still has a bit of a crunch. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Set aside.

Step 4: Pan Frying the Halibut

• 1 tbsp unsalted butter or oil


Heat a frying pan over medium-high heat. Once properly heated, add the butter or oil. Cook the halibut for about 5 to 6 minutes on each side or just until done. This will depend on the thickness of the fish. You may need to turn the heat down to medium, so the pancetta does not get too crispy or burn.

Step 5: Plating the Dish

• 1/8 tsp freshly ground black pepper


To plate the dish, ladle about 1/8 cup of sauce onto the center of each plate. Then top with about 1/2 cup of sautéed cabbage. Place a piece of halibut over top and garnish with seasoned watercress, if desired. Serve immediately.

Chef's Notes

The pancetta not only adds great flavor to this dish, it also helps to keep the halibut nice and moist.

The halibut can be wrapped a few hours in advance and refrigerated.

This versatile cream sauce goes well with chicken, pork or even fish. Add a bit of fresh pesto and it can easily be transformed into a delicious pasta dish as well. The cream sauce can also be made in advance and kept warm in a bain marie (you may need to re-whisk it before serving).


  • Carmen A
    Carmen A
    My husband made this recipe and it was excellent. He is not "the cook" in our family but if he keeps up the great work he may be promoted.
  • Peter M
    Peter M
    While we usually try to maintain the healthy benefits of fish when we cook it, this is a good rich alternative. While I found the pancetta brought out a little fishiness from the halibut, this was offset by the cabbage. I will probably prepare this again one day, and when I do, I will make more cabbage for this reason.
  • Dave B
    Dave B
    If the halibut is thick, you'll never get the center done before the pancetta is burnt. Instead, try this: preheat the oven to 425F. Saute the pancetta-wrapped halibut just until the pancetta has browned. Then move the whole pan to the oven and roast until the interior of the halibut reaches 135F. (Use an oven-proof pan, of course) Even my son - who dislikes fish - cleaned his plate. The pancetta added a smokey flavor to the halibut.
  • Dawn T Rouxbe Staff
    Dawn T
    You are totally right...In fact we should have put that in the video. It is a great way to finish fish or meat, that has been wrapped like this. Myself, I have the oven a bit lower at about 375°F. I also, cook my fish to 135°F or 140°F, but just want to point out to people that this is medium. So if you like your fish fully cooked in the middle, cook until the internal temperature is 160°F.
  • Marshall O
    Marshall O
    Two Halibut dishes to consider: Grilled halibut with an avocado tomato cilantro salsa, OR and this one is super cool - Halibut that is stuffed with a wilted chard, fresh salmon mixture. I just made these up, so I don't have a recipe set in stone yet, but if it sounds good, drop me an email and I can put something together for you.
  • Katherine A
    Katherine A
    This halibut dish was a HUGE hit at dinner last night. My husband absolutely loved it & raved on & on. Cabbage is such an under used vegetable & it suited this dish perfectly. The sauce was also lovely & just completed this fantastic meal. Will definitely make it again. Katherine Aldinger Vernon, British Columbia
  • Kevin F
    Kevin F
    This turned out very well on the first try, its a rich dish so I'll reserve it for special occasions, but it was VERY good. Make sure your Pancetta is thin, if it's too thick it will not stay wrapped, but it will still turn out.
  • Juan T
    Juan T
    This recipe its easy, fast and convenient. It is awesome, I did use the oven to cook the halibut, that gives you time to finish the sauce or the cabbage. simply perfect!
  • Tracy S
    Tracy S
    I LOVE these flavours but must always watch the sat fat. Here's what I did-- Instead of a cream sauce I made a smoked tomato vinaigrette (recipe by Karen Barnaby i think, tomatos peeled/seeded + olive oil + lemon juice + few drops liquid smoke in the blender). I seared/roasted the halibut, and served over lightly steamed cabbage tossed with olive oil. Passed crumbled crispy pancetta seperately. A hit!
  • Tanya H
    Tanya H
    I'm wondering roughly how long the fish should stay in the oven...? Also, what would you recommend as a complementing side dish? I'm serving a salad and a desert with this, but am thinking I need more substance, and colour :)
  • Patrick O
    Patrick O
    Wow this is a keeper. Although this is super rich, white wine with good acidity takes it to a whole new level. I've tried this with a Chablis and a dry Grüner Veltliner. I preferred the Grüner because its flavours complimented the dish better but basically anything white and acidic will work. I bet bubbles would be excellent!
  • Sherry G
    Sherry G
    I made this recipe following the instructions to a 'T' and it turned out beautifully! My husband really liked it although I found it a tad rich for my tastes. The sauce made it even ricjer, but was fabulous tasting too. Buying the halibut was pretty expensive considering it is winter, just try finding it really fresh :D I ended up buying frozen but it was still great. It was about $20 for the 2 pieces of halibut. Still cheaper than in a good restaurant though :D The cabbage was a big hit too as it turned out perfectly. Thank you for another fabulous dish! Sherry
  • Klaus S
    Klaus S
    This is like the lead in a pencil. It is the perfect recipe for a elegant "halibut" dish and it is simple. Perfect for frozen halibut. Klaus "S"
  • Carolyn M
    Carolyn M
    My husband and I really enjoyed this dish..All of the ingredients complimented each other for elegantly. Beautiful presentation..Will definitely make again..
  • Alex L
    Alex L
    I have yet to try this recipe but am making sure I know the ingredient well. BTW, what is Pancetta it's similiar to air-dry beef or ham? Thanks
  • Tanya H
    Tanya H
    I've prepared this dish twice and it turned out well both times. It's quite easy and fool-proof to make, yet impressive-looking. I agree that a white wine with good acidity pairs very well with this rich dish. A simple Riesling wine for example. Its cuts the grease. Alex, pancetta is more like bacon. You should be able to find it in local meat shops.
  • Liz S
    Liz S
    When my sister flies out for her annual visit, we always choose a five star restuarant for a special dinner for one evening. I was so impressed when my husband cooked the halibut for me that I asked if he would make this as our special meal. He agreed and also made the cabbage, asparagus and creme brulee from this site. All were outstanding , particularly the halibut, and far better than any of our fine meals out. My sister was so impressed, she kept the menu we had printed up and keeps it on her desk at work ! My husband is a great cook and in 15 years of marriage this was his best meal ever. Thanks Rouxbe!
  • Margy F
    Margy F
    could I substitute prociutto for the pancetta?
  • Joe G Rouxbe Staff
    Joe G
    Pancetta in this recipe lends some fat to the dish. Prosciutto on the other hand tends to be quite a bit leaner. I'm sure you could try the substitution but you will need to cook it at a lower temperature and maybe even finish it in the oven. Keep a close eye on the prosciutto to ensure that it doesn't completely dry out and burn (given the lower fat content). You might have to cover it at some point. Although this would work, my preference is still the pancetta. If you try it, let us know how it turns out okay?
  • Liz S
    Liz S
    We have made this recipe at least 8 times now and twice used prosciutto because it was convenient.(It's a breakfast staple in our house:). Definitely we prefer pancetta as it works better and would use it if serving to guests. We did have to finish it in the oven but we sometimes do that with the pancetta as well if the piece of fish is thick.
  • Gabriela S
    Gabriela S
    I made this for dinner last night and i thought the halibut tured out really good. The sauce was out of this WORLD delicious and its right up my ally since i love rich sauces even though they are not very healthy. The sauce reminded me of an alfredo sauce. Speaking of that does anyne have a good recepie for a good alfredo sauce? The only thing i did not care about was the cabbage...i thought it was to plain and tasteless. Have any of you ever used something else instead? I tried watercrass for the first time and i liked the pepper taste but i really didnt know what seasoning to put on it. In the video above it says olive oild a little bit of lime juice and you favorite seasoning. Does anyone have any suggestions? Mine tured out really tasteless and i threw it away but i dont want to give up on it so im open for suggestions. Overall i can't wait to make this dish again. Thank you rouxbe :)
  • Keith L
    Keith L
    I have never worked with pancetta. But I know from attempting many bacon wrapped dishes the hard part was always making the bacon adhere to whatever dish you were preparing throughout the cooking process. Particularly pan fried or grilled recipes where you were turning or handling the dish several times. Seems I always wound up with fried bacon on the side as it always seemed to seperate itself from the main dish even when skewered with toothpicks in a attempt to keep it attached. Does pancetta act that much differently than bacon? I notice in this video the pancetta seems to remain intact as if it is almost part of the halibut! The oven method mentiond earlier seems to be the way I will go with this as it seems less handling of the dish is involved. My son brought me about 5lbs of frozen halibut he caught in Alaska this summer when he visited for Thanksgiving so I am anxious to try this recipe.
  • Dawn T Rouxbe Staff
    Dawn T
    Pancetta tends to adhere better than bacon as it is generally cut thinner, at least when using it to wrap ingredients. The fact that pancetta is wider than bacon also helps as the pieces overlap better, which helps the pieces to stick together. I have made this dish quite a few times and I have never experienced the pancetta falling off or separating. Good luck and enjoy the halibut. Cheers!
  • Keith L
    Keith L
    Dawn for the response. I'm looking forward to this dish and will let you know the results.
  • Keith L
    Keith L
    Made this last night and it was delicious. I let the halibut go a little too long in the oven and it was just a tad on the dry side. I was very pleased when the pancetta adhered to the halibut. I was worried that during pan frying the pancetta would release from the halibut but you were right Dawn it did adhere nicely. The cabbage and the dijon cream sauce just took this dish to the next level. I served this with a side of wild rice pilaf. The pilaf was made from local uncultivated wild rice to which I added lemon zest and almonds, some minced garlic and scallions. The perfect side dish for this meal. Wild rice is so unpredicatable. This pilaf took less than 45 minutes from begining to end to prepare.
  • Dawn T Rouxbe Staff
    Dawn T
    Great job Keith! Sounds like you had a delicious dinner. Thanks for sharing your feedback. Cheers!
  • Keith L
    Keith L
    Made this again yesterday. Even better the second time around. I didn't have enough pancetta and the store was out of it so I had to try using proscuitto. The proscuitto was quite a bit leaner so I had to improvise by turning the heat down and flip often to keep it from burning and still allowing the fish to cook through. The halibut fillets were not quite as thick as the last ones I had so that helped me out otherwise I would have finished in the oven but the fillets were not that thick so I though I could pull it off by pan frying and it worked!! The cream dijon sauce really puts this dish over the top. Excellent dish and easy to make and everyone loves it. I have other halibut recipes but this one will always be at the top of the rotation. Side dish this time was a medley of yukon, red and purple baby potatoes that were steamed.
  • Lisa M
    Lisa M
    Halibut wasn't available, so I took a chance and used cod. It was so delicious last night that it's coming back for an encore tonight—Thanks, RouxBe!
  • Dennis V
    Dennis V
    I've got a big party coming up and want to make little beef wellington bites. The challenge is how to get the meat medium rare in 1" square strips while still allowing the puff pastry to rise. My plan is to cut the filet in 6" long 1" square strips, sous vide to rare, Flash sear, chill to around 40 degrees, wrap in pastry dough with the mushroom mousseline and bake until puffed, cool and slice into bites. Do you think that would keep the meat from cooking past medium rare?
  • Ken R Rouxbe Staff
    Ken R
    Great thoughts - I'd try the experiment exactly as you stated. The cooling of the meat will be key. Oven temperature will be another key- you want o be 100% sure the pastry "puffs" and it needs a hot oven to get that steam going- especially when wrapped around something cold. ~Ken

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