Ok I know what you’re thinking – there’s quite a lot on this plate! Yes, I did think that too to begin with but trust me, it all works perfectly together!
So for starters, halibut is a white fleshed fish – it’s actually the largest flatfish in the ocean! The flesh is firm and it has a delicious meaty texture – perfect to stand up to the flavours in this dish!
The finger limes are a completely new one on me. They are also known as lime caviar, due to their physical appearance – little citrus sacs within the fruit which burst open in your mouth to release their tingling acidity! Although native to Australia, they can be grown in the UK, and I managed to buy these in my local supermarket. However, although they do add that zing to this dish – if you can’t get them, then substitute for a twist of lime instead! The sharp taste is needed to cut through the richness of the beurre blanc – it balances it out well.
Points to note in this dish – really the main issue is that you need to cook the halibut at roughly the same time as you make the beurre blanc as they both need to be served immediately. So keep an eye on timings here!
Do give it a try, and let me know how you get on – or just e-mail me if you have something to add!
I’l love to know if you like it!
Pan fried halibut with butternut squash, peas , finger limes and fennel seeds
For the beurre blanc
- 1 banana shallot finely chopped
- 140 g butter straight from fridge – cut into 1cm cubes
- 60 ml white wine vinegar
- 60 ml white wine
- 1 tsp double cream optional
Roasted butternut squash purée
- 350 g butternut squash cut into chunks
- 50 g butternut squash cut into 2cm cubes
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- salt and pepper
- 1 tsp ground fennel seeds
- 50 ml double cream
- 100 ml milk
- 1 tsp honey or more to taste
- 4 halibut fillets
- 1 tsp ground fennel
- salt and pepper
- 100 g peas if frozen, simmer for 2 mins until ready
- 1-2 finger limes use lime as an alternative
- dill and chives to garnish
- First, put the butternut squash in a roasting pan (keeping the chunks and the cubes separate), add the olive oil, ground fennel, salt and pepper and then roast for 30-40 mins at 190C (180C fan).
- When soft to touch, remove and let cool slightly. Transfer the chunks to a blender and together with the milk and cream, blend until a purée is formed. Add the honey and taste. Season with more salt and pepper if needed. Set aside.
- Keep the butternut squash cubes as they are – in some foil so they stay warm.
- Take the finger limes and slice longways through the skin into two halves. You will see the caviar like citrus sacs and using a small spoon or blunt side of a knife, you can scrape them out carefully. They release pops of acid once pierced and will add a tanginess to cut through the rich beurre blanc sauce. Once the sacs have been extracted, set aside.
- Put the diced shallots into a pan with the vinegar and white wine, and boil until the liquid has reduced by around two-thirds – around 8-10 minutes.
- Meanwhile, start to cook the fish. Pat the fish dry and season with salt and pepper. Also sprinkle the fillets with the ground fennel. Gently press the fillets so that the seasoning 'sticks'.
- Add some butter or oil to a frying pan, and then place the fillets into the pan and sear for around 3-4 minutes (depending on thickness). Turn the fish over and cook for roughly the same time again. Remove to a dish and cover with foil – the residual heat should cook them through while you prepare the beurre blanc.
- Strain the shallot/vinegar/wine liquid after the liquid has reduced, discard the shallots and transfer the remaining liquid to another pan.
- Reduce the heat to low, and start rapidly whisking in the cubes of butter, one or two at a time. As the butter melts and dissolves into the liquid, add more cubes, making sure to whisk all the time. Repeat this until you have only a few cubes remaining.
- At this point, remove the pan from the heat while adding and whisking the remaining cubes. You can also add the cream at this point, if using. Season.
- Divide the butternut squash purée between the plates and add the fillets on top. Pour the beurre blanc over the fillets, and place the finger lime caviar on top of the fish. Add the butternut squash cubes and peas around the dish and garnish with the chives and dill.
- Serve immediately.