Halibut Cheeks with Lemon-Dill Beurre Blanc

by Kimberley S in Rouxbe Recipes

Juicy pan-fried halibut cheeks are smothered in fresh lemon-dill beurre blanc.

  • Serves: 2 to 3
  • Active Time: 20 mins
  • Total Time: 20 mins

  • Comments: 17
  • Views: 42459
  • Success 100%

Step 1: Making the Beurre Blanc

Making the Beurre Blanc

To prepare the beurre blanc, first mince the shallots. Squeeze the lemon juice and measure out the white wine. Cut the cold butter into tablespoon-size pieces and set aside.

Place a small saucepan over medium heat. Add the shallots, lemon juice and wine. Bring to a simmer and reduce the liquid by about two-thirds until it reaches a syrupy consistency.

Turn the heat to the lowest setting and whisk in the cold butter one piece at a time to slowly form the emulsion.

Once all of the butter has been incorporated, season with salt and pepper. You may want to add a few more drops of lemon juice to brighten the flavor of the sauce, if needed.

Monitor the sauce closely while you cook the fish. Keep the sauce warm to the touch and whisk often to prevent it from splitting. You may need to turn the heat off and on to keep it at the correct temperature. The heat does not always need to be on, as the residual heat from the pan will keep it warm.

  • 1 tbsp shallots
  • 2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp white wine
  • 8 tbsp cold, unsalted butter
  • kosher salt (to taste)
  • white pepper (to taste)

Step 2: Cooking the Fish & Serving

Cooking the Fish & Serving

To cook the fish, heat a non-stick fry pan over medium heat and add the oil and butter.

Pat the fish dry and season with a bit of salt. Cook the fish about 1 to 2 minutes per side or until just done. Squeeze a bit of lemon over the fish.

To finish, chop the dill and whisk into the beurre blanc. Serve the fish immediately with the sauce spooned over top.

  • 4 to 8 halibut* cheeks (or pieces)
  • 1 tsp grapeseed oil (or vegetable oil)
  • 1 tsp unsalted butter
  • 1/4 lemon
  • 1 tsp fresh dill

Notes

* This sauce is delicious with any type of white fish, salmon, seafood, chicken or vegetable.

Erik G

Another Great Rouxbe Night!

My son was in town for a visit, so him and I decided to do a Rouxbe Night for the usual chef in the house and give her a break. We picked to start the Curried Mussels. Wow! They came out fantastic and the smell of curry was not over the top. Only sad part was we did not have enough bread to finish off the sauce. We voted that this was definitely a keeper.

Next was the Orange and Watercress Salad, a nice change up to cleanse the palate from the mussels. We used the white wine vinegar this time, but are planning on using the suggested champagne for the next try.

The last was the Halibut Cheeks with Lemon-Dill Beurre Blanc. Oh my! We thought we were having lobster as it was so rich. Hey, I am not saying that was bad, it was perfect. Never realized the texture of halibut cheeks was that meaty. We added a side of Moroccan Couscous that picked up the flavour of the Beurre Blanc. We also rated this as a keeper, but next time we are going to have an additional side of the Roasted Glazed Carrots, which would have competed it.

Although the kitchen was a bit of a mess with two guys cooking away like mad, this Rouxbe night turned out to be a 9.5 out of 10 in our books. Can't wait for the next one.

Kimberley S
Rouxbe Staff

Rich for Sure

Hi Erik,
Yippy! Glad to hear you had such a super night! Great job! The beurre blanc is definitely rich, so it sure makes for a special treat. I see you're located in Vancouver - enjoy the sunshine this weekend!

Christie C

Unsuccessful modifications

I made a few modifications that led to less-than-ideal results. As a beginner cook of only 2 years, I'm sure I did not do this recipe justice, but also as an eager learner and fan of Rouxbe, I wanted to solicit some feedback.

First of all, my sauce was not thick and viscous like the picture, but resembled a pool of melted butter. Yummy and rich, and maybe appropriate to dip lobster in, but not very appetizing to see the fish swimming in it. I thought 8 tbsp of butter was a lot and because I didn't want my husband to have a heart attack, I substituted margarine ("Can't believe it's not butter"). Was that the culprit? What does it mean to "split the sauce"? Also, are there any healthy alternatives for this recipe?

Secondly, my grocery store only had frozen halibut, so I opted for fresh tilapia fillets instead. Parts of it tasted rather fishy to me. Should I have used sole instead?

I also added too much salt in the fish seasoning step (I seasoned both sides with coarse sea salt! oops). I wonder if next time, it would be enough to just add the salt into the sauce only and skip the salt on the fish altogether?

I will probably add more shallots too, since I didn't really taste those much (maybe the lemon, butter, and salt overpowered it?). The fresh dill was a hit though! Thanks.

Joe G
Rouxbe Staff

Making Beurre Blanc

Hi Christie. We love helping those that are willing to try again. Cooking takes practice and beurre blanc is not the easiest sauce to make.

I've added a cooking school lesson video to the recipe so that you can review the precise technique (step 1). Perhaps you missed this in the cooking school lesson on beurre blanc OR maybe you didn't do the lesson :-) nudge nudge... For cooking success, all you have to learn is your technique....

However few tips:
1. Don't make a butter sauce if you are not going to use butter. The emulsion needs the real butter fat. I know it might look low fat and healthy but it's not. Run for 30 minutes and then eat :-)

2. You also don't want the temperature of the sauce (butter) to get too hot. If it is too hot, the butter fat will split (look like melted butter). When you make this right, it will look like thick cream (it's magical really). So low temperature (just warm) and add the butter very gradually (again, review video on butter sauces (or beurre blanc).

3. The fish should be seasoned for sure, just try adding a little less salt next time and season the sauce to taste at the end. And if it was fishy tasting, it likely wasn't very fresh (check out the How to Buy & Store Fish and subsequent lessons in the Cooking School.

And try again. Just work on the sauce until you get it (without the fish at first). Then head to a good fish store and ask for the freshest piece of white fish and report back. Standing by.

Christie C

Beurre Blanc

Hi Joe!

Thanks for the tips! You know, I didn't even see the accompanying technique video. Now that I go back, I see it as a little link. Any way to make it more prominent or even embed the videos in the recipe, since it's so crucial to its success? Or, maybe you guys can make this a full-blown video recipe! I will definitely check out the technique video and take the lessons you mentioned. I'll let you know how my second attempt fares. But first, I need to go exercise and fast for a week. ;p
Thanks,
Christie

Patrick O

Echo Eric

Yes, another great Rouxbe night. The Beurre Blanc was a piece of cake, very similar to Beurre Monte i've made in the past. I used 8oz chunks of Halibut loin, pan fryed in Grapeseed oil with a touch of S&P. No need to add more lemon to the sauce as it was ideal as it stands. Paired it with a Kiwi Sauv. Blanc (Dogpoint) and it was a fine match. An unoaked Chardonnay would have fit the bill as well. Cheers!

Patrick O

Inspiration.

This version of Beurre Blanc (Tarrogon in place of Dill) would be amazing on Lobster!

Nichon G

Wonderful!

We have always used a bottled dill sauce on our fish, and i decided to make this sauce, It was wonderful! And it came out perfect the first time. Very easy to make. Just pay attention to it and like you say, keep the heat LOW! I served it on broiled salmon, my husband loved it! No more bottled sauce for us!

Jenny M

Another great recipe

I just made this tonight for me and the boys. I have to say I don't like making fish 'cause it always turns into a disaster, so I'm officially afraid of fish but tonight I followed the recipe step by step, word by word and it was THE best fish I've ever made. Thanks again for another great recipe :)

Siavash E

1... 2... 3... DONE!

active time: 20 mins ??! probably a typo... perhaps 2 minutes ;)

this dish is simple, vibrant, and quick!

Rosie G

Cod

I substituted the halibut with cod, and it was fantastic! Did roasted potato recipe with it. Quick, easy and delicious meal!

Jillian R

Great dish

Hi, tried this and really enjoyed it ! We are thinking of opening as a bed and breakfast at the higher end of the market and will be offering evening meals, but fish is one of the things I find a little daunting, so it was a Great boost to do this which turned out better than fish I have had in some restaurants, I have been doing your lessons for nearly 3 years now and just want to thank you all for the great service you give, love trying all your recipes and will definatly be serving them when we open as b&b . Thanks again jill

Dawn T
Rouxbe Staff

Re: Great Dish

Thank very much Jillian. Keep up the great work and good luck with your B&B. Cheers!

Donna H

Wonderful!

I just tried it for the first time after watching the videos yesterday, and it came out terrific!

Jerry and tonya S

Tartness

My first time making a Beurre Blanc. The texture came out fantastic (like a cream), wonderful richness. When I first tasted the gastride there was a overpowering taste of lemon. I continued to reduce the gastride by 2/3 or maybe a bit more.
After incorporating the butter there was still an overpowering lemon taste. To correct that I added just a bit of sugar whch took the very strong lemon tartness down just a notch.
Is this supposed to be this tart. If is it then I did just fine. Orr did I do something incorrect? Would reducing the gastride down to au sec have reduced the tartness. Next time I would add lemon to taste.

Instead of Cod I used Scallops. Again this was a first for me and I think they came out just fine. I did notice that the times I used were different from what I have seen here (1 to 2 minutes). I assume that the stoves you use are around 22k - 25k, where the one at my house is about 18k at best. I am thinking that this is what makes my time different from yours, so I went by look and feel rather than time cooking.

Jerry (fatkid)

Kimberley S
Rouxbe Staff

RE: Tartness

Nice work on the texture/consistency. The flavor will depend on how much acid you begin with and how far your reduce/concentrate its flavors. It just takes practice and tweaking the amounts to suit your tastes.

In terms of cooking time, recipes can only ever offer guidelines. Every stove/cooking source will be different, so you need to learn to adapt to the equipment you are using. Sometimes things will take longer/shorter - it just depends on what you are using. Keep on practicing. Cheers!

Melodie W

yummy

Made this sauce tonight with baked chicken all I can say is OMG!!!! it was so good. My family loved it too. I am having so much fun with these classes.

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