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Grilled Halibut with Tarragon-Caper Mayonnaise


Serves four to six.

Yields 1-2/3 cups mayonnaise.

  • To learn more, read:
    How to Grill Fish Steaks
  • by from Fine Cooking
    Issue 86

This tangy tarragon-infused sauce complements mildly flavored fish. If you can't find halibut, tuna steaks are also a good pairing. Most mayonnaise is made with an egg yolk, but this recipe uses a whole egg, which gives the mayonnaise a looser consistency.

For the mayonnaise:
  • 1 large egg
  • 4 tsp. fresh lemon juice
  • 3/4 tsp. kosher salt; more as needed
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 cup canola or vegetable oil
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped cornichons (or gherkins)
  • 2 Tbs. chopped capers
  • 1 Tbs. minced shallot
  • 1 Tbs. finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 1 Tbs. chopped fresh tarragon
  • 1/2 tsp. sweet paprika
For the halibut:
  • 1-1/2 Tbs. olive oil; more for brushing the grill
  • Four to six 1-1/4-inch-thick halibut steaks (6 to 8 oz. each)
  • 1 tsp. kosher salt
Make the mayonnaise:
If raw eggs are an issue you can make the sauce with a pasteurized egg or with store-bought mayonnaise (use about 1 heaping cup in place of the egg and oils).

Whisk the egg, lemon juice, salt, and a few grinds of black pepper in a bowl until well combined. Combine the oils and drizzle them into the egg mixture, whisking constantly. Once all the oil is added, the sauce should be shiny and thick. Fold in the remaining ingredients and season with salt and pepper to taste.

Grill the halibut:

Meanwhile, generously coat both sides of the halibut with the oil and season both sides with salt. Let the halibut sit at room temperature for 15 minutes (while the grill heats). Grill the halibut steaks directly over the heat source (covered on a gas grill, uncovered on a charcoal grill), without touching, until they have good grill marks, 2 to 4 minutes. Flip the steaks and grill until the second sides have good grill marks and the fish is done to your liking, another 2 to 4 minutes. (Check for doneness by slicing into one of the thicker pieces.) Serve immediately with the tarragon-caper mayonnaise.

Make Ahead Tips

The mayonnaise can be made up to one day ahead and refrigerated, covered.

nutrition information (per serving):
Size : with 2 Tbs. mayonnaise, Calories (kcal): 440, Fat (kcal): 29, Fat Calories (g): 260, Saturated Fat (g): 4.5, Protein (g): 40, Monounsaturated Fat (g): 17, Carbohydrates (mg): 2, Polyunsaturated Fat (mg): 6, Sodium (g): 400, Cholesterol (g): 80, Fiber (g): 0,

Photo: Scott Phillips

Mayonnaise had a good flavor, but would be better with crab cakes....with halibut it was too dry. We had wild caught, thick, delicious grilled halibut .... this sauce didn't do it justice.

I just made the mayo and keep testing it...guess I'd better leave some for dinner. Very tasty! Wonder how this would be as a dip for shrimp?

The mayonnaise was incredible over the fish. We had quite a bit left over, does anyone have any ideas for the left over mayonnaise?

This is an easy to prepare recipe with delicate flavors. The mayonnaise perfectly complements the fish. With a simple side salad and steamed vegetables it is a healthy family dinner.

I just made this tonight. It had great taste and texture. Everyone loved it. Definitely a keeper!

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