Halibut with beurre blanc

Literally 'white butter' in French, beurre blanc is a rich sauce made with reduced vinegar and white wine. Dominic Chapman, head chef at Michael Parkinson's pub The Royal Oak in Berkshire, serves halibut in this decedent sauce on a bed of fried pancetta and leeks
Halibut with beurre blanc
  • Rating:
  • Serves: 4
  • Cook Time: 20 minutes
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Effort: medium


For the beurre blanc

  • 1 shallot, finely chopped
  • 1 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 bay leaf
  • few sprigs of thyme
  • 500 ml white wine
  • 150 ml white wine vinegar
  • 100 ml double cream
  • 250 g butter

For the fish

  • 8 leeks
  • 500 g pancetta
  • 150 g butter
  • 1 halibut fillet, about 1kg
  • dashes of olive oil
  • lemon juice, to taste
  • 1 tbsp grain mustard
  • 1/4 tsp chopped parsley
  • 1/2 tsp chopped chives
  • fleur de sel, to taste


1. For the beurre blanc: put the shallot, garlic, bay leaf, thyme, white wine and vinegar into a large pan and cook until reduced by half. Add butter slowly over a low heat and whisk until melted, followed by the cream (whisking constantly). Keep warm.

2. For the fish: wash the leeks, then slice into 1cm pieces. Slice the pancetta into batons. Heat a quarter of the butter in a pan and fry the pancetta until coloured slightly, add the leeks and continue cooking until they are soft, but still bright green in colour. Remove the leeks from the pan and drain any excess butter. Set aside.

3. Remove the skin from the halibut fillet then slice into four portions. Heat a dash of olive oil in a large pan and fry the pieces of fillet until golden-brown on both sides (2-3 minutes), then turn over. Meanwhile, heat the remaining butter in a small pan until foaming, pour this over the fish and let it cook in the butter for another minute. Remove the fish from the pan, season with salt and pepper to taste, and finish with lemon juice.

4. Stir the mustard and herbs into the beurre blanc and add the fish to the pan. Season, to taste, with salt and pepper.

5. Arrange the fried leeks and bacon on four plates and serve the halibut on top. Sprinkle over a little fleur de sel and serve.

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