Roasted Halibut with Saffron-Fennel Butter

  • Level: Intermediate
  • Total: 40 min
  • Prep: 5 min
  • Cook: 35 min
  • Yield: 4 servings
Save Recipe


1 stick unsalted butter, at room temperature

1/2 teaspoon lightly crumbled saffron threads

1/4 teaspoon fennel seeds

Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

1 small bulb fennel, trimmed, cored and thinly sliced, plus fennel fronds for topping

1 clove garlic, finely grated

Juice of 1 lemon

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

2 cups yellow cherry or grape tomatoes, halved

4 8-ounce center-cut halibut fillets (skin-on)


  1. Combine 1 tablespoon butter and the saffron in a small microwave-safe bowl and microwave until the butter melts, about 1 minute. Let cool 5 minutes. Place the remaining butter and the fennel seeds in a food processor and pulse until smooth. Add the melted saffron butter, 1 teaspoon salt and a few grinds of pepper and continue pulsing until the butter is bright yellow. Transfer to a piece of plastic wrap and form into a 4-inch log; freeze until firm, about 20 minutes. (The saffron butter will keep in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.)
  2. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Toss the sliced fennel, garlic, the juice of 1/2 lemon, 1 tablespoon olive oil and 2 tablespoons water in a 9-by-13-inch baking dish. Sprinkle with 2 tablespoons water and season with 1/2 teaspoon salt and a few grinds of pepper. Cover with foil and bake until the fennel is tender, about 20 minutes.
  3. Toss the tomatoes with the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Scatter the tomatoes over the fennel. Set the halibut on top of the vegetables; drizzle with the juice of the remaining 1/2 lemon and season with salt and pepper.
  4. Bake, uncovered, until the halibut is firm and no longer translucent, about 12 minutes; remove from the oven and top each piece with a thin slice of saffron butter. Return the halibut to the oven and bake until the butter just begins to melt, about 2 more minutes. Serve with fennel fronds.
Get the Recipe

Perfect Cranberry Sauce

This ruby-hued sauce is a breeze to make with either fresh or frozen fruit.

Halibut Roasted with Fennel and Croutons

Halibut Roasted with Fennel and Croutons

Halibut with Roasted Leeks and Tomatoes

Roasted Halibut with Pea and Mint Salad

Roasted Halibut with Grapefruit Fennel Salsa

Roast Halibut with Smoked Tomato Vinaigrette

Slow Roasted Halibut with "Deconstructed" Ratatouille

Roasted Halibut Fillets with Salsa Verde