Poached Halibut with Herbed Vinaigrette

April 1998, The Essential EatingWell Cookbook (2004)

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Gently simmering mild fish in a simple, fragrant broth—known in French cooking as a court-bouillon—is a wonderful way to impart flavor. Be careful not to overcrowd or overcook the fish, as either will cause it to fall apart.

Poached Halibut with Herbed Vinaigrette



  • 8 cups water
  • 1 cup red-wine vinegar
  • 1 medium onion, halved
  • 1 medium carrot, quartered
  • 1 stalk celery, quartered
  • 3 cloves garlic, unpeeled, halved
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon peppercorns
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 sprig fresh thyme

Halibut & Vinaigrette

  • 4 6-ounce halibut steaks, 1 inch thick, skinned
  • Salt & freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 2 teaspoons reduced-fat sour cream
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 1 medium shallot, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon coarsely chopped fresh Italian parsley
  • 1 tablespoon coarsely chopped fresh tarragon
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh chives
  • 2 teaspoons coarsely chopped fresh dill, plus sprigs for garnish


  1. To prepare broth: Combine all broth ingredients in a large pot. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low and simmer, uncovered, for 30 minutes. Strain into a large deep skillet, discarding solids.
  2. To poach halibut & make vinaigrette: Bring broth just to a simmer. Season halibut with salt and pepper on both sides. Add halibut to broth and poach, uncovered, until opaque in the center, 5 to 10 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, spoon 2 tablespoons of the simmering broth into a small bowl. Add lemon juice, mustard and sour cream. Gradually whisk in oil. Add shallot and season with salt and pepper.
  4. Remove halibut from poaching liquid and divide among 4 warmed plates. Stir parsley, tarragon, chives and chopped dill into the vinaigrette and spoon over the fish. Garnish with dill sprigs. Serve immediately.

Tips & Notes

  • Make Ahead Tip: Cover and refrigerate the broth (Step 1) for up to 2 days or freeze for up to 4 months.


Per serving: 268 calories; 11 g fat (1 g sat, 5 g mono); 55 mg cholesterol; 3 g carbohydrates; 0 g added sugars; 36 g protein; 0 g fiber; 258 mg sodium; 834 mg potassium.

Nutrition Bonus: Potassium (42% daily value), Magnesium (37% dv).

Exchanges: 5 lean meat, 1 fat

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