Crazy crispy weeknight air fryer halibut

pieces of fish and fries wrapped in paper with tartar sauce

What is it? Wednesday night? And you thawed out some halibut and now you’re trying to decide what to do with it and you don’t really have much time? This is an age-old Alaska conundrum, which in my childhood was usually solved by making halibut Olympia. Now, in new fangled times, you could try a very quick turn in the air fryer instead.  It doesn’t have mayonnaise like the Olympia of yore, but I included a super quick homemade tartar sauce recipe. Because it absolutely requires tartar sauce for dipping. Let’s not kid ourselves: Olympia may be retro, but mayo is still halibut’s best friend. 

This recipe is a great weeknight option that kids can get into. It takes about 20 minutes to prepare from start to finish and is healthy compared to the fried alternative. The fish comes out crazy crispy. I usually make it fish and chips style, with frozen fries for speed purposes, but you could make your own oven fries, too. Just remember to start the fries first so everything comes out on time. 

This recipe will also work in a 400 degree oven, but it just won’t get the wild crunch. You can also easily sub in gluten free panko to make the recipe gluten free. And, it can also work with cod. Make sure to adjust the cooking time if the fish is quite thin or if you’re working with a big fat piece of halibut. That squeeze of lemon and sprinkle of salt at the end is the chef’s kiss!

Extra crispy air-fryer halibut with homemade tartar 

Makes 4 servings

For the fish:

½ cup corn starch

1 teaspoon garlic powder

Zest of one lemon

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon paprika

¼ teaspoon black pepper

2 eggs, beaten

1 cup panko crumbs

.8 to 1 pound halibut or other white fish, cut into strips

Cooking oil spray (optional)

Lemon slices

Sea salt

For tartar sauce:

1 cup mayonnaise

1 1/2  teaspoons yellow mustard

2 teaspoons sweet or dill pickle relish, depending on preference

1 tablespoon lemon juice

Couple dashes Tabasco sauce (optional)

Method: (If you’re making fries, you’ll want to put them in the oven first thing.) Preheat the air fryer to 400 degrees. Create a breading station with three bowls. Fill the first with cornstarch, garlic powder, salt, pepper, zest and paprika and whisk to combine. Fill the second with beaten eggs. Fill the last with panko. Pat the fish slices dry with paper towel to dry them. Then, coat each one in the cornstarch mixture, then coat thoroughly in egg, then coat well with panko, making sure it sticks to all sides. Spritz with oil if desired. Load the preheated air fryer, making sure not to overload. The fish pieces should not be touching. Air fry for 8 to 11 minutes, depending on the thickness of the fish, (9 to 10 minutes works for most fish, unless it’s very thin or very thick) Turn them halfway through. When they’re done, remove them to a plate and immediately give them a generous spritz of lemon.  

While the fish is cooking, make the tartar sauce. Stir together mayo, mustard, relish, lemon and tabasco (if desired).