I think I might have mentioned before how much I love cheeks. Veal cheeks, beef cheeks, pig cheeks - all delicious. Fish cheeks are no exception. Halibut is one of my favorite members of the fish family - a giant cold-water dwelling behemoth that yields tender and sweet white meat. It can tend toward the expensive side, so when I saw Halibut cheeks at Whole Foods yesterday for $14.99 a pound, I jumped. I always view cheeks as something sold primarily to restaurants; they can be hard to find on the retail market. Halibut cheeks are sweet and tender, with a fine, thin flake and a texture similar to lobster; they are so sweet that the simplest preparations are best. Just a little salt is all you need, although the squeeze of lemon is nice to cut through the richness.
Simple and Delicious Halibut Cheeks - serves 2
1/2 pound Halibut cheeks, about 6 pieces
2 tbsp butter, optional
Preheat a nonstick pan over medium-high heat and coat lightly with olive oil, or with cooking spray. Liberally sprinkle both sides of the fish with salt, and place the cheeks in the pan, being careful not to overcrowd. Cook 2 minutes and turn over, then cook for another 2 minutes. Turn the heat up to high and add the butter, allowing it to sizzle and brown; turn the fish over to coat both side, cooking for an additional minute or 2, being careful not to overcook - they only take about 5-6 minutes total. Remove to plates and squeeze with lemon juice.