This is a very popular Southeast Alaska recipe for halibut. Local legend is that the original recipe was created back in the 1920s by a woman named Caddy Ganty, the wife of a fish packer living in the small fishing community of Pelican. Many restaurants in Alaska and the Pacific Northwest serve a variation of this dish, sometimes calling it Halibut Olympia.
Perhaps the most well known version is served at the Gustavus Inn near Glacier Bay National Park. The Inn won an “America’s Classics” award bestowed by the James Beard Foundation in 2010. I adapted this recipe from the one served by JoAnn and David Lesh, owners of the Gustavus Inn.
Halibut Caddy Ganty (AKA Halibut Olympia)
2 pounds fresh Alaskan halibut fillets, approx 1 inch thick, skinned and cut into 3 X 4 inch pieces
1 1/2 cups white wine *
1 Tbsp kosher salt
3/4 cup unseasoned bread crumbs (white or sourdough)
1 to 2 Tbsp butter
1 cup finely chopped onion
1 cup mayonnaise **
2 cups sour cream **
2 tsp paprika
1) Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2) Sprinkle halibut fillet pieces with salt, place in a large high-rimmed dish, and add the wine. Cover, place in refrigerator, and allow to marinate 2 to 3 hours. Do not marinate longer, or the wine will begin to break down the fish.
3) Butter a baking dish large that is large enough to hold the halibut fillet pieces in a single layer. Pat dry the fillets, toss lightly with the bread crumbs, and place them in the baking dish.
4) In a small bowl combine the chopped onion, mayonnaise, and sour cream. Spread the mixture evenly across the top of the halibut fillets, being careful to completely cover the fish. Sprinkle with paprika.
5) Bake 25 to 30 minutes. The top should be lightly browned and bubbling, and the fish should flake easily.
6) Optional: Top with finely chopped dill or chopped scallions before baking.
Makes 4 hearty entree portions, or 6 – 8 light appetizer portions