What’s a Spring Fish Doing on a Fall Menu?

halibut2The fall menu at Circa 1886 is crammed with dishes that most diners would immediately recognize as autumnal – the entrée list includes duck breast with a mustard demi-glace, pork chop with Brussels sprouts and quail accompanied by rabbit sausage and pumpkin gnocchi – but the outlier of the bunch is halibut, which is generally recognized as a harbinger of spring.

In the Pacific Northwest, which this year has harvested nearly 19 million pounds of halibut, the opening of the commercial season is greeted with the same relief many Southerners feel when the first ramps blossom. Although the season runs for nine months, fishermen pining for a paycheck can catch 10-20 percent of the annual allowable catch in the season’s first few weeks.

This year, halibut season opened on Mar. 23; it closes on Nov. 7. Continue reading