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Poached Alaskan Halibut, Sweet and Sour Golden and Red Beets, Citrus and Extra Virgin Olive Oil Emulsion

~ Eric Ripert, executive chef/co-owner, Le Bernardin, New York


  • Poached Alaskan Halibut:
  • 4 Alaskan halibut fillets, 7 ounces to 9 ounces each
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon chiffonade of fresh basil
  • Citrus and Extra Virgin Olive Oil Emulsion:
  • Zest of 1 orange
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • 1/2 star anise
  • 1 tomato, cored and chopped
  • 1 1/2 cups olive oil
  • 1/4 cup lemon oil
  • 3/4 cup fresh orange juice
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons ponzu (bottled)
  • 1 teaspoon minced shallot
  • Fine sea salt and freshly ground white pepper to taste
  • Espelette pepper to taste

Note: Espelette pepper is a mild red chili pepper popular in the Basque region of southwestern France. It's available at specialty food shops. Ponzu is a Japanese dipping sauce, available at Asian food markets and specialty food shops.

  • Sweet and Sour Golden and Red Beets:
  • 2 to 3 golden beets, depending on size
  • 2 to 3 red beets, depending on size
  • 1/2 cup red wine vinegar


  1. The marinade oil, which will be the base for the citrus and extra virgin olive oil emulsion, needs to be made two days in advance. Crush the orange zest, lemon zest, star anise and tomato together by hand. Add the oils. Season well with salt and cover with plastic wrap; let sit for two days under refrigeration. After two days, warm the marinade oil and strain through a chinois. Reserve the oil and throw the aromatics away.
  2. Cook the beets, red and yellow in separate pots, in salted water with 1/4 cup red wine vinegar added to each pot. When the beets are tender, remove them from the water and let them cool. Peel the beets and cut them horizontally into 1/8-inch slices. Each serving will receive three yellow beet slices and three red beet slices. Portion the beets onto a plate and cover with plastic wrap. Keep refrigerated until ready to use.
  3. Make the citrus and extra virgin olive emulsion just before poaching the halibut. Combine the orange juice, lemon juice, ponzu and shallots; bring to a simmer. Emulsify in one cup of the marinade oil with a whisk; season to taste with salt, white pepper and Espelette pepper.
  4. When ready to serve, bring a shallow pot of water (big enough to hold the four halibut fillets) and the lemon juice to a boil. Season with salt and reduce the heat so the water is just under a simmer. Season the halibut on all sides with salt and pepper. Place the halibut in the water and poach the fish until it is just warm in the center; a metal skewer should be easily inserted into the fish and, when left in for five seconds, feel warm when touched to the lip. While the fish is poaching, season the beets and reheat them in a microwave or oven until they are warm. Drizzle 1/2 tablespoon of the marinade oil over each portion of beets.
  5. Remove the halibut from the poaching liquid and drain each fillet on a towel. Arrange the beets in a circle in the center of each entrée plate. Place the halibut on the beets. Garnish the top of each halibut with 1/2 tablespoon of basil chiffonade. Serve the warm emulsion in a sauceboat on the side.

Serves 4.


I love cooking halibut. It is very flavorful, juicy and almost silky. I was unhappy when I learned that the Atlantic halibut population is in trouble and the methods with which they are caught can be damaging to the bottom of the ocean. As an alternative, I found that Pacific halibut -- and particularly wild Alaskan halibut -- is a great alternative and is very delicious.

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