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Lemon-Ginger Poached Halibut with Leeks & Spinach

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Serves four.

  • by Jessica Bard from Fine Cooking
    Issue 95

This light, Asian-inflected main course is great served over cooked soba  noodles to soak up some of the extra broth.

  • 2 tsp. finely grated fresh ginger
  • 1 tsp. finely grated garlic
  • Finely grated zest and the juice of 1 lemon
  • 2 Tbs. plus 1 tsp. extra-virgin olive oil
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Four 1-inch-thick skinless halibut fillets, 6 to 8 oz. each
  • 2 medium leeks, white and light-green parts only, halved lengthwise, rinsed well, and thinly sliced
  • 3 cups lower-salt chicken broth or vegetable broth; more as needed
  • 4 cups lightly packed spinach leaves, rinsed and roughly chopped
  • 1/4 cup roughly chopped fresh mint
  • 1/4 cup thinly sliced scallions

In a small bowl, mix the ginger, garlic, lemon zest, 1 tsp. of the olive oil, 1 tsp. salt, and 1/2 tsp. pepper. Pat the mixture evenly all over one side of the fish.

In a 10-inch straight-sided saute pan, heat the remaining 2 Tbs. oil over medium heat. Add the leeks and saute, stirring constantly, until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the broth and 1 Tbs. of the lemon juice. Cover and bring to a simmer over high heat. Arrange the fish lemon-ginger side up in a single layer on top of the leeks. If necessary, add more broth until the fillets are almost but not completely submerged. Cover and turn the heat to low. Gently simmer until the fish is just cooked through, 8 to 10 minutes. With a slotted spatula, transfer the fish to 4 shallow bowls.

Add the spinach, mint, and scallions to the broth and stir until slightly wilted, about 1 minute. Season to taste with more lemon juice, salt, and pepper. Ladle the vegetables and broth around the fish and serve.

Serving Suggestions

Serve with boiled soba noodles and Snow Pea, Scallion and Radish Salad on the side. Finish the meal with sweet-tart Avocado Frozen Yogurt.

nutrition information (per serving):
Calories (kcal): 330; Fat (g): 13; Fat Calories (kcal): 120; Saturated Fat (g): 2; Protein (g): 41; Monounsaturated Fat (g): 8; Carbohydrates (g): 14; Polyunsaturated Fat (g): 2.5; Sodium (mg): 480; Cholesterol (mg): 55; Fiber (g): 3;

Photo: Scott Phillips

Tasty but probably won't make it again with the broth. I might steam the fish on longer cut leeks with a bit of broth or use a bamboo steamer.

I wouldn't normally put "fish" and "comfort food" in the same sentence, but would for this dish! Not only was it scrumptious, but it was easy to make and the flavors elegant enough that I would not hesitate to make this for company. I typically find mint a distracting flavor but, as an earlier reviewer said, don't overlook it in this recipe. I made this exactly as written, including the soba noodles. Wouldn't change a thing.

My favorite recipe ever. Love the flavors, they are mild and fresh. Wouldn't change anything about the recipe. Don't omit the fresh mint!

Very Good. I made this with roasted fingerling potatoes on the side instead of the soba noodles, only because I needed to use them up and didn't have time to go to the store to buy the soba. I thought it had a wonderful flavor and very simple to make. I think I overcooked the fish, but it still came out moist. I served this dish with the recommended radish and snowpea salad. It was perfect. I used walnut oil, but I omited the rice wine vinegar and sugar and just added freshly squeezed lemon juice to the walnut oil until I thought it was balanced enough. This meal was easy, healthy, impressive and satisfying. I recommend this highly. I made it for a friend who didn't think she liked Halibut. This dish totally changed her mind!

I will definitely make it again. I substituted for salmon and reduced the poaching liquid much more than called for at the end. The sauce was silky and delicious.

A delicious, light dinner. We swapped out the Halibut for Chilean Sea Bass and it worked perfectly. We'll definitely be making this recipe again!

Outstanding. My lovely bride said it was worthy of a good Asian restaurant. Light, extremely healthy and fresh. Really, really good.

Easy and very yummy. I used half the amount of fish, kept other ingredents the same, but added lots of soba noodles. Definitely a dish I will make again.

Absolutely fantastic!

Absolutely delicious! Love, love this recipe! I've made it many times and will continue to do so on a regular basis.

great recipe. the size of the fish serving is large so decreasing the size of the portion would be my only recommendation. we love this one.

Made it for two in my 3 quart All Clad saucepan with two pieces if Chilean Sea Bass. I halved all of the ingredients and the results were delicious! The mint adds a nice touch.

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