Thursday, March 6, 2014

Lemon and Tarragon Poached Halibut with Blood Orange Sauce (and Seriously Awesome Potatoes)

I enjoyed the saffron-scented halibut that I made a few months ago.  But it needed a sauce.  So I decided to try and make my own sous vide halibut with a fun sauce.  I will admit, this halibut was not as firm as I would like.  I think I'd try a firmer fish next time.  Despite the years I've been cooking, I'm still not that great at picking what types of fish work with what sauces or methods of cooking.  That said, the flavors of the fish and sauce worked well together.  I'd make the sauce for a breaded fish too. I thought blood orange on its own was a bit sweet so I added some lemon juice to tie it in with the poaching liquid and the citrus salt in the potatoes and I think it worked pretty well.  The sauce was kind of sweet and sour, but in a mild way; it didn't overpower the fish.

The potatoes were the star of the dish.  I liked them even more than the jalapeno poached potatoes that are the usual roasted potato staple in my house.  They have two kinds of salt in them.  Why?  Because I have a vast army of nice salts that were given to me as gifts and I want to find more ways to use them.  I've got some citrus salt that is pretty strong and some very nice salt with roasted spices.  I put some citrus salt and pepper on the potatoes and added a little thyme. Before I neglected it this winter and then let my dog run around on it, I grew some lemon thyme in my herb garden.  I figured citrus salt and thyme would work pretty well together since lemon thyme is so good.  I wanted to make sure there was enough salt on the potatoes but I didn't want the citrus to be overpowering, so I added a little of the roasted spice salt as well.  If you don't have any, regular salt would work fine.  The potatoes were perfect.  Just the right amount of crunch and flavor.  They were tangy, but not overly much.  The thyme made them smell fantastic.

Lemon and Tarragon Poached Halibut with Blood Orange Sauce
Original Recipe
Serves 2


2 halibut fillets, skinned  (for the love of all that is holy get the grocery store to do this)
3 Tbsp butter
1/8 cup vegetable stock (or less, eyeball it)
Zest from 1/2 lemon
Juice of 1 lemon
1 Tbsp of tarragon


1) Set immersion circulator to 140 F.

2) Melt the butter in a small sauce pan.  Then stir in the lemon juice, zest, and tarragon.  Add the vegetable stock until you think you've got the right amount of liquid to cover your fish.  I used probably 1/16 cup.

3) Place the fish in a single bag and pour butter mixture over it.  Vacuum seal and cook in the circulator for 17 minutes.

4) To serve, place the fish on a plate and discard poaching liquid.  Top with Blood Orange Sauce

Blood Orange Sauce
Original Recipe
makes enough for 2 fish filets

2 Tbsp butter, divided
1 shallot, finely chopped
Splash or two of white wine
Juice from 1 blood orange
Juice from 1/2 lemon
Salt to taste


1) Melt 1 Tbsp butter.  Then cook shallots for about 3 minutes.  Deglaze the pan with the white wine.  Add the citrus juices and salt.  Bring to a simmer.

2) Stir in the other Tbsp butter.  Simmer until melted.

Seriously Awesome Potatoes
Original Recipe
Serves 2

1/2 lb red creamer potatoes
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 Tbsp dried thyme (or more, eyeball it)
Citrus salt
Fleur de sel with roasted spices (optional, if you don't have it just use some nice salt)


1) Preheat oven to 450.  Scrub and cut the potatoes into bite-sized pieces.

2) Toss the potatoes with olive oil.  Then add the two kinds of salt, thyme, and pepper.

3) Roast for 35 minutes.

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