Halibut with Pinot Grigio Pan Sauce and Butter-Toasted Almonds

This is a simple and elegant dish that you can make for a fast, after-work dinner, or plate it up for a special occasion.  Any kind of firm, white fish will work in place of the halibut, and you can swap out different fresh herbs for the tarragon.  This is more of a technique than a recipe, so play with it using the ingredients you enjoy and have on hand.

I served this with a quick pan-saute of Sun Gold and red cherry tomatoes, just warmed in some olive oil until they began to split, and sprinkled with sea salt.  Fresh tarragon is a natural enhancement for the fish, plus I have a French tarragon plant that routinely exceeds four feet in height and width, so I am liberal in my use of the herb.  Rosemary or thyme would also be lovely.

For the sauce I deglazed the pan with a cup of flipflop Pinot Grigio, which adds a bright, mildly acidic note to balance the rich toasted almonds and the buttery halibut.   To retain the texture of the almonds I toasted them in butter, removed them from the pan, and then sprinkled them over the top of the fish just before serving.  Two fillets of halibut will serve four people, so if you are cooking for two you can use one fillet and reduce the almonds by half–leave the rest of the amounts the same, however, and you will just end up with a little extra pan sauce (which is never a bad thing).

Halibut with Pinot Grigio Pan Sauce and Butter-Toasted Almonds
1 tablespoon salted butter
1/4 cup whole almonds, coarsely chopped
2 halibut fillets, of roughly equal thickness
salt and ground white pepper, to taste
1 tablespoon arrowroot or tapioca starch
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 shallots, finely chopped
1 cup flipflop Pinot Grigio
fresh tarragon leaves

In a large saucepan, heat the butter over medium-high heat and add the almonds.  Toast the almonds in the butter, stirring frequently, until they just begin to turn golden and smell toasty.  This will only take 3-4 minutes, so be careful not to let them burn.  Remove the almonds from the pan.

Sprinkle the halibut pieces with salt and ground white pepper.  Dust both sides of the fillets with arrowroot to lightly coat.

In the same pan you used to toast the almonds, add the olive oil and shallot and cook over medium-high heat until it just starts to wilt.  Push the  shallot to the side of the pan and add the fish to the open areas.  Let it brown for 3-4 minutes per side, then pour in the wine and sprinkle on some fresh tarragon.  Let the sauce cook down to a glaze, then sprinkle on the toasted almonds and serve.

Legal stuff: flipflop provided me with samples of their wine and I then made up recipes with some of said free wine and drank the rest with abandon.  All opinions are my own, and all recipes were written prior to the consumption of free wine.  If you find a typo, don’t blame the wine.

Thanks for reading,

-Angela

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13 Responses to Halibut with Pinot Grigio Pan Sauce and Butter-Toasted Almonds

  1. Shawn October 3, 2011 at 3:05 pm #

    It's a quick dish but looks so elegant, my husband would feel so special having this for dinner. I'm loving the use of wine, herbs, and nuts.

    Beautiful plating!

  2. claudia @Whats cookin October 3, 2011 at 7:36 pm #

    I would proudly present this one my table this is an awesome recipe thank you we just love fish and then that wine is perfection with it!

  3. Calogero October 3, 2011 at 9:20 pm #

    Almonds and wine, very very good…

  4. Angela October 4, 2011 at 2:18 am #

    Thanks all!

  5. Corina October 4, 2011 at 6:26 am #

    Looks exquisite! I will try your recipe, maybe for tonight dinner!

  6. Curt October 4, 2011 at 11:31 am #

    This sounds absolutely delicious!

  7. Kate@Diethood October 4, 2011 at 3:15 pm #

    That looks soooo good!

  8. marla October 6, 2011 at 3:15 am #

    I could live on this halibut. Really :)

  9. Angela October 6, 2011 at 3:35 am #

    Marla, me too :) It is really my favorite kind of dish.

  10. Terrie November 3, 2012 at 8:55 pm #

    Love fish. Love almonds. LOVE wine! But I’m not the greatest cook, so I have what may be a silly question: How soft do the tomatoes get when cooked this way? (I’ve obviously never done it) Does it enhance the flavor of the tomatoes quite a bit? Thanks for your help – I want to try this!

    • Angela November 3, 2012 at 9:13 pm #

      Terrie, I cook them just until they break open, so they retain a little texture but they are definitely soft–and it does make the tomato flavor sweeter and more pronounced. Not a silly question! You could cook them just long enough to warm them through if you want them to stay firm.

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