This is a fantastic halibut recipe that embraces the wonderful qualities of the wild Alaskan halibut while making it look lovely at the same time. This recipe was inspired by chef Eric Ripert of the Mid-Town Manhattan restaurant, Le Bernardin. But it doesn’t need to cost $90 a plate. It takes less than 15 minutes to make at home and you can add your own flair.
The Sauce Vierge
- 1 cup olive oil
- 1 tsp finely minced shallots
- 1 tbsp minced parsley
- 1 tbsp minced tarragon
- 1 tbsp minced basil
- 1 tbsp chopped capers
- 1 tbsp chopped Nicoise olives
- Juice of half lemon
- 4 ripe tomatoes 1/4 inch thin. Try heirloom tomatoes in a variety of colors for a phantasmagoric assemblage contrasted elegantly against the ivory flat fish!
- 1/2 cup cut basil
- About 1.5 lbs. halibut slices lengthwise (against grain) about 3/4 inch thick. Thaw overnight in fridge, cut from package and rinse under cold water then pat dry.
- About 2 cups water
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tbsp lemon juice from lemon
- Coarse salt and roasted white pepper
- First make the sauce and allow to rest in the fridge while you prepare the rest of the dish. Making the sauce is simple as combining all the ingredients, except the lemon, in a bowl and mixing. Don’t you love simple!? You will squeeze the lemon into the sauce at the last moment.
- Next, arrange the tomatoes on the plates by cutting in half then slicing thin, about 1/4 inch. Using heirloom varieties of different colors really makes this dish sing. Create any pattern or shape you want, but Erik Ripert makes a circle and I like that. Dust the tomatoes with coarse salt and a little white pepper.
- Now all we need is the fish and a little garnish. Place a saucepan over medium heat and add water, olive oil and lemon juice and a little salt and white pepper.
- After slicing the halibut into pieces, sprinkle with just a little salt and white pepper then place in the simmering water. The water should not cover the halibut but come about half way up the fish. You can add or remove water. Cook in the water for 2-3 minutes on each side or until just warm in the middle. Erik Ripert uses a metal probe (heat thermometer or metal shish kabob skewer would work) to insert into the fish for a moment. He feels the the shaft for warmth––cold in the middle means raw and hot in the middle means overcooked.
- The final step is to place a few pieces of halibut over the center of your lovely tomato shape. Then finish off your sauce by squeezing half a lemon in it and mix with a few strokes. Pour a little of this sauce over the fish and finish by sprinkling some basil over the whole affair.