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Olive Oil-Poached Halibut with Braised Fennel, Beurre Blanc and Herbed Couscous

Nathan Congleton / TODAY
Cook Time:
10 mins
Prep Time:
30 mins
Servings:
2
RATE THIS RECIPE
(87)

Chef notes

Halibut is a mild white fish and a good source of protein. It's by far the most popular dish at The Benjamin Ridgefield Restaurant. Halibut plays well with flavorful fennel, lemon, butter and herbed couscous.

Technique tip: If you're able to pierce the fish with a skewer without resistance, it's ready. Use a slotted fish spatula so the excess olive oil drains off the fish when removing from sauté pan.

Swap option: If you can't get ahold of halibut, you can use a different type of white fish, salmon or steelhead trout. Instead of serving over herbed couscous, you can serve with mixed greens, asparagus or green beans.

Did you make this recipe? Show us! Your dish may be featured on the TODAY Show.

Ingredients

Poached Halibut
  • 2 quarts extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 sprigs thyme
  • 2 sprigs parsley
  • 1 clove garlic, smashed
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 (2-inch) lemon peels
  • 2 (6- to 8-ounce) halibut fillets
  • 1 teaspoon salt, or as desired
Braised Fennel
  • 2 cups dry white wine
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 sprigs thyme
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon fennel seed
  • 1/4 teaspoon black peppercorns
  • 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1/2 tablespoon canola oil
  • 1 fennel bulb
Herbed Couscous
  • 1/2 cup medium grain couscous
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground fennel seed
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 1/2 tablespoon chopped chives
  • 1/2 tablespoon chopped dill
  • 1/2 tablespoon chopped mint
  • 1/2 tablespoon chopped parsley
  • 1/2 tablespoon chopped chervil
  • 1/2 tablespoon minced red onion
  • 1/2 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 lemon wedge
  • 2 tablespoons chopped toasted pistachios
  • 1 tablespoon chopped Picholine olives
Beurre Blanc
  • 1/4 cup dry white wine
  • 1/2 small shallot, minced
  • 1 sprig thyme
  • 1/4 teaspoon black peppercorns
  • 1 sprig parsley
  • 2 tablespoons heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup cold butter, diced
  • 1 lemon wedge
  • 1 tablespoon chopped, grilled scallion

Preparation

For the poached halibut:

1.

Heat olive oil in a deep sauté pan to 150 F and add in thyme, parsley, garlic, bay leaf and lemon peel, and allow to infuse for about 20 minutes.

2.

While the oil is infusing, season your halibut fillets with salt and let sit for about 15 minutes to cure the fish. Dab away any moisture.

3.

Place fish in olive oil and poach for 8 to 10 minutes, depending on the size of fish.

For the braised fennel:

1.

Combine dry white wine with water, herbs, spices, lemon juice, salt, butter and oil in a small saucepot.

2.

Trim bottom and top of the fennel bulb and cut into 6 wedges. Add fennel to saucepot and bring to a simmer.

3.

Cover and braise for about 45 minutes, until tender.

4.

Remove fennel and pat dry.

For the herbed couscous:

1.

Place couscous in a small bowl.

2.

Bring water to a boil with cumin, coriander, fennel seed, pepper flakes and salt.

3.

Pour over couscous, cover with plastic wrap and let sit for 10 minutes.

4.

Fluff the couscous with a fork and gently fold in herbs and onion.

5.

Season with olive oil and lemon wedge, and fold in pistachio and olives. Set aside.

For the beurre blanc:

1.

Combine white wine, shallot, thyme, black peppercorns and parsley in a small saucepot. Bring to a simmer and reduce to about 2 tablespoons and remove thyme, parsley, garlic, shallot and peppercorns.

2.

Add heavy cream and bring to a simmer for 1 minute.

3.

Over very low heat, whisk in cold butter in a few stages carefully not to overheat and break the emulsion. Remove from heat occasionally if it gets too hot.

4.

Once your butter is whisked in, the consistency should coat the back of a spoon.

5.

Season with lemon and stir in the grilled scallion.

To serve:

When halibut is poached, plate the dish with herbed couscous and fish, and spoon beurre blanc sauce on top of halibut, place 3 pieces of braised fennel around the fish and top with fennel fronds.