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Steamed Halibut on a Bed of Leeks and Carrots

~ Darby Hoover, NRDC senior resource specialist, San Francisco


  • 2 fillets Pacific halibut, preferably skinless
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 2 large leeks, white and light green parts only, julienned
  • 3 carrots, julienned (same volume as leeks)
  • 4 sprigs fresh thyme or flat-leaf parsley
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Note: Each fillet should be a single-serving size; if not, serve a large fillet whole and divide it at the table.


  1. Rinse your fresh fish in water -- if it smells at all fishy, give it a "North Sea Bath." (In a large, non-reactive pan (such as Pyrex) cover the fish with ice water and add about 4 tablespoons of salt. Let it sit, preferably refrigerated, for at least 20 minutes. Discard the salt water and rinse the fish in clean water. Any fishy smell should have dissipated.)
  2. Heat a skillet (one with a lid to fit) on the stove, medium to medium-high. Add the olive oil and let it heat up, then add the julienned carrots and leeks, stirring to combine.
  3. Put on the lid and let the vegetables sweat for five to eight minutes, until the carrots begin to become tender and the leeks start to become translucent, but just before they brown.
  4. Put the fillets directly on top of the vegetables and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Top each fillet with thyme (or parsley) sprigs. Pour the wine on the vegetables (to the sides of the fish), cover the skillet, and let the fish steam for five to ten minutes, depending on thickness. If you have particularly thick fillets, you may turn them over halfway through cooking.
  5. Serve fish and vegetables together, immediately (with rice or other accompaniment if desired).

Serves 2.


This recipe is quick and easy to prepare, and one of my favorites from my lovely wife Laura's extensive repertoire of tasty dishes. I like this one best when we've visited our farmer's market earlier in the day and bought the leeks, carrots and halibut fresh from our local vendors. We enjoy this as a light dinner for two for quiet evenings at home, but have also served it with asparagus soup, a green salad and dessert for guests.

More Tasty (and Sustainable) Seafood Recipes

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