Cristina Cooks: Poached Halibut

Cristina Cooks: Poached Halibut

• 8 garlic cloves, smashed and peeled
• 3 medium fennel bulbs, trimmed, reserving some fronds for garnish, and bulbs (including core) cut lengthwise into ¼-inch-thick slices • 1 ½ pound small (1½ - to 2-inch) tomatoes (preferably Campari), halved • 1 teaspoon fennel seeds • 1 teaspoon sugar • 1 Turkish or ½ California bay leaf • 3 (3- by 1-inch) strips orange zest • 1 quart extra-virgin olive oil • 1 (2½-pound) piece skinless halibut fillet (about 1 ½ inches thick)
Finishing sauce Ingredients:

• 1 jar of canned sauce • ¼ cup pitted kalamata olives • 1 tablespoon capers • ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional) • 3 tablespoons of Extra Virgin Olive Oil • ¼ cup loosely packed fresh dill, coarse chopped • ¼ cup fresh Italian parsley loosely chopped • Cracked Pepper

  1. Simmer garlic, fennel bulbs, tomatoes, fennel seeds, sugar, bay leaf, zest, and 1 teaspoon salt in oil, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are tender but still intact, 30 to 40 minutes.
  2. While vegetables simmer, rub fish with 1½ teaspoon salt and ½ teaspoon pepper and let stand 10 to 20 minutes.
  3. Transfer vegetables to a bowl with a slotted spoon, then submerge fish in oil (if necessary, to lift level of oil, return vegetables to pot) and cover surface of oil with parchment paper. Cook fish over medium heat (without simmering) 5 minutes and remove from heat. Let fish cook from residual heat (still covered with parchment) until just cooked through, 10 to 15 minutes.
  4. Carefully transfer fish to a platter using 2 metal spatulas. Discard bay leaf. Surround with vegetables. Drizzle with some of oil and sprinkle with chopped fronds. Serve chilled or at room temperature with finishing sauce.

Finishing sauce:

  1. Take one jar of the canned tomato sauce and pour into a ceramic or glass bowl.
  2. Add the olive and capers and pepper flakes. Mix together gently, pour 3-4 tablespoons over fish.
  3. Drizzle olive oil over top and garnish with dill and parsley.
  4. Crack a healthy dose of cracked pepper on top.

Serve with warm crusty bread!
You may also use the sauce as pizza sauce, pasta sauce, or with shellfish!

Feast of the Seven Fishes with Cristina

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