Chardonnay Poached Halibut

The sauce is the key to this dish and this recipe allows for servings of fish for up to about 4 people. The white wine sauce is built up and the whole process is done in 3 fairly easy steps. This is a great lesson for mastering basic sauce making (it was for me, anyway).  By poaching, you will have moist fish with a delicate flavor.

The Bechamel Sauce:

1 tablespoon butter
½ tablespoon finely chopped onion
2 tablespoons flour
1 ½ cup boiling milk
5 white peppercorns
½ sprigs parsley
Pinch of grated nutmeg

Melt butter in a saucepan, add onion and cook until soft but not brown. Add flour, mix well and cook slowly until the flour just starts to turn golden. Add milk, a pint at a time, stirring vigorously, preferably with a wire whip. Add salt, peppercorns, parsley and nutmeg. Cook slowly, stirring frequently for about 30 minutes or until reduced to 1 cup and the sauce is the consistency of a very heavy cream. Strain through a fine sieve.

The Cream Sauce:

1 cup Bechamel (above)
¼ cup heavy cream
Lemon Zest

Cook the Bechamel until reduced to ¾ cups. Add the cream and bring back to the boiling point. Add lemon zest.

The Chardonnay Poach:

3 tablespoons butter
½ teaspoon salt
2 cloves garlic, minced
½ cup mushroom peelings
2-4 Servings fish (salmon, halibut are good)
½ cup fish or chicken stock
1 cup Cream Sauce (above)
½ cup cream
¾ cup Chardonnay
Salt and pepper
Juice of 1 lemon

Put 1 tablespoon butter, salt, shallots and mushroom peelings in t shallow pan. Place fish on top and add wine and stock. Cover plan and cook until the fish is done, about 10 minutes. Remove fish to serving dish. Cook liquid in pan until reduced to one third its original quantity. Add cream sauce and cream and bring back to the boil add butter, correct seasoning if needed, and add lemon juice. Gently plate fish, topped generously with sauce.

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