Steamed Halibut with Braised Leek Vinaigrette

  • Active Time 30m
  • Total Time 30m

Serves 4

Bistro chefs often pair the sweet flavor of cooked onions with steamed fish fillets. In this recipe, two onion preparations -- braised and fried -- set this dish apart. Since the fried onions should remain crisp to contrast with the delicate texture of the fish, add them only at the last moment, or serve them on the side for diners to add as they like.


  • Vegetable oil for deep-frying
  • 1 large white onion
  • Ice cubes
  • 1 teaspoon salt, plus salt to taste
  • 2 leeks, halved lengthwise and carefully washed
  • 1/2 cup vinaigrette
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh chives
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • 4 halibut fillets, about 5 ounces each

Companion recipe: Vinaigrette


Pour vegetable oil to a depth of 3 inches into a deep-fat fryer or a large, heavy-bottomed saucepan. Heat to 350 degrees F on a deep-fat frying thermometer, or until a crust of bread becomes golden within moments of being dropped into the oil.

While the oil heats, using a mandoline or a sharp knife, slice the onion crosswise as thinly as possible. You should have about 2 cups. Separate the slices into rings.

Slip the onion slices into the hot oil and stir gently to separate the rings. Fry until golden brown, about 10-12 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, remove the onion from the oil and spread them out on paper towels to drain. Set aside.

Fill a bowl with ice cubes and water and set aside. Fill a large saucepan 2/3 full with water. Add 1 teaspoon salt and bring to a boil.

Cut the leeks into 1/2-inch dice. You should have about 3 cups.

Add the leeks to the boiling water, return to a boil and boil until they are very tender, about 4-5 minutes. Drain and immediately plunge them into the ice water to halt the cooking. Drain again.

Combine the cooked leeks and vinaigrette in a sauté pan over high heat. Heat, stirring often, until warmed through, about 1-2 minutes. Stir in the chives and parsley. Taste and adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper. Set aside.

Sprinkle both sides of the halibut fillets with salt and pepper to taste. Place on a steamer rack over (not touching) gently boiling water. Cover and steam until opaque throughout when pierced with a knife, about 5 minutes.

Using a slotted spoon, remove the leeks from the sauté pan. Place on warmed individual plates, dividing the leeks evenly.

Place a halibut fillet on top of each bed of leeks. Scatter the fried onion over the fish. Serve immediately.

Recipe reprinted by permission of Weldon Owen. All rights reserved.

RecID 716

nutrition information per serving

356 calories; 20g total fat; 45mg cholesterol; 900mg sodium; 13g carbohydrates; 2g fiber; 31g protein

These nutrition facts are calculated according to the ingredients listed in this recipe. Any substitutions will change these facts. Although we strive for accuracy, please note that food manufacturers occasionally change their food formulas, which could affect the calculations as shown.

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