Sunday, August 18, 2013

Poached Halibut with Sauce Vierge

I've followed Eric Ripert for several years now - first on a PBS cooking show, Avec Eric, that he hosted for a while, then on cameos he would make on various shows hosted by his good friend Anthony Bourdain. My wife and I were able to make a pilgrimage to his restaurant in Midtown Manhattan a couple of years ago, Le Bernardin, where we were completely blown away by the seafood tasting menu they featured. I won't go into detail here about that incredible meal but suffice to say it was definitely in the top 3 of places we've been to.
My wife recently caught a segment on the Today show with Eric demonstrating this recipe and suggested that I check it out. Since we're now entering the height of the tomato harvest in our backyard garden, anything that features tomato is fair game in the kitchen and this recipe certainly qualifies.

sauce vierge

nowhere near as elegant as Eric's presentation but nonetheless...

the 3/4 pound fillet of wild Northern California halibut we used

or as Eric says it, 'alley-boot' ...

preparing the poaching with olive oil, lemon, and seasoning

As usual, I've modified the printed recipe to describe how I cooked the dish.


Sauce Vierge
1 teaspoon finely minced shallot
1 tablespoon minced parsley
1 tablespoon minced tarragon
1 tablespoon minced basil
1 tablespoon chopped capers, rinsed
1 tablespoon chopped black olives
Juice of half a lemon
1 cup extra-virgin olive oil

2 ripe tomatoes sliced thinly, about 1/4 inch
basil tops

1 3/4 pound Halibut fillet, sliced crosswise in quarters
2 cups water
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
Fresh ground white pepper


Sauce Vierge:
Place the extra virgin olive oil in a mixing bowl then add the shallot, parsley, tarragon, basil, capers and olives. Stir to combine the ingredients and transfer to a small container. The sauce can be made a couple hours ahead and kept at room temperature.

Prepare the plates just before cooking the fish by fanning the sliced tomatoes in a circle in the center of four plates and season lightly with salt and white pepper.
Place a large sauté pan on medium-low heat and add the water, the oil and lemon juice. Lightly season the liquid with salt and white pepper. Season the slices of halibut on both sides with salt and white pepper and place in a single layer in the warmed poaching liquid. The liquid should come about halfway up the fish, adjust if needed with more. Cook the fish for about 2-3 minutes, then flip the slices and cook on the other side until they are just warmed in the center. Eric used a toothpick to pierce the center of one of the fillets and determined if it was done by whether the toothpick was warm or not when he removed it.
Place two slices of the poached halibut in the center of each plate on top of the tomatoes. Finish the sauce with the fresh lemon juice and spoon over the fish and plate, garnish each dish with the torn basil and serve immediately.

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