The Confident Kitchen Series
It’s Halibut season – one of my favourite times of the year – we call it Halibut Heaven.
There’s nothing better than fresh halibut prepared simply by pan frying in brown butter (also known as Beurre Noisette), salt and pepper and a squeeze of lemon. Making your own version of Tartar Sauce (recipe below) is a perfect accompaniment to this delectable, dense white fish.
HALIBUT BEURRE NOISETTE
CHEF TALK: This is more about a technique for each component than a recipe. I will explain the steps for making Beurre Noisette, the simple way that I prepare the halibut, then a spinach sauté to accompany the halibut, as well as my favourite recipe for a quick Tartar Sauce as an accompaniment.
For the Beurre Noisette:
- In a small saucepan, place 1/2 lb. unsalted butter.
- Melt over low heat and allow the butter to separate into butterfat and the milk solids (which sink to the bottom of the saucepan). The milk solids eventually turn brown, and this is what flavours the butter.
- Watch the butter carefully, swirling every once in a while. Once the butter turns a nice dark golden colour, remove the pan from the heat.
- Ladle the browned butter into another clean dish, leaving the milk solids in the saucepan. The browned butter can be used as a type of sauce for the fish as well as for many other uses. I use it for a French Cookie called madeleines and a French pastry called financiers. Basically, what you have is clarified butter with a lovely nutty taste.
- Any leftover browned butter should be refrigerated.
Prepare the Halibut:
- Allow approximately 5 oz. of halibut per entrée, (or 2 oz. for a first course)
- Preheat a non-stick frying pan over medium heat.
- To prepare the fish, simply pat it dry with a paper towel (this allows for a better sear).
- Season the portions well on both sides with salt and pepper.
- Once the frying pan is preheated, add 2 tablespoons of brown butter
- Pan fry the halibut on both sides until golden brown on both sides. Do not overcook this fish. The interior of the fish should be moist (to the point).
- Serve with Tartar Sauce (recipe below), sautéed spinach, and a wedge of lemon.
For the Spinach Saute:
- Sauté fresh baby spinach in the same fry pan after the halibut has reached a perfect golden brown colour. Set the halibut aside and keep it warm, drizzling a bit of the brown butter on top.
- Add 1 tablespoon of finely chopped shallot to the hot pan and cook for a few seconds until the shallot is softened.
- Add 10 oz. of fresh spinach.
- Toss to coat the spinach with the brown butter and shallot and allow the spinach to cook lightly (wilt) in the pan.
- Season the spinach to taste with salt and pepper and a grating of freshly ground nutmeg.
- Serve alongside the halibut and tartar sauce. Enjoy!
UrbnSpice’s Favourite TARTAR SAUCE
- 1 cup real mayonnaise (not salad dressing)
- 2 medium-sized dill pickles, chopped coarsely
- 3 – 4 slices sweet pickle, chopped coarsely
- 1 tablespoon capers, chopped coarsely
- 1 tablespoon fresh dill, chopped finely (or 1 teaspoon dill weed)
- 1 tablespoon fresh parsley, chopped finely
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon lemon zest
- 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard (smooth or coarse)
- Salt and pepper to taste
Optional flavouring additions:
- 1 teaspoon fresh tarragon, chopped (or 1/2 teaspoon dried)
- 1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
- 1/4 teaspoon Tabasco sauce (hot pepper sauce)
- Combine all the above ingredients together (including any optional flavouring additions) in a bowl and mix to combine.
- Season to taste. Serve alongside the halibut fish entrée.
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If you give this recipe for Halibut Beurre Noisette a try, please leave me a comment below with your feedback.
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Please follow this link for a photographed step by step explanation of the technique of Beurre Noir
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