The technique for poaching halibut in a veloute is classic and while it is a little bit advanced, is certainly something that you can, and should try at home. The result is a very gentle way of cooking the fish that protects it and makes it very shiny in texture. The vinaigrette that goes on top contains some fresh herbs and it is simple and well balanced. It provides just enough of an accompaniment to make the dish interesting and adds some fresh and bright flavor that enhances the fish instead of covering it up.
Bring the water to a boil in a wide shallow pot over high heat. Whisk the flour into about ¼ cup of cold water until smooth and stir into the boiling water. Then add the vermouth, lemon juice and orange juice and boil the poaching liquid until it thickens. Season with a generous pinch of salt and reduce the temperature to low heat so that the poaching liquid is hot but not boiling, about 180°F.
Combine sherry vinegar and Dijon mustard in a mixing bowl and season to taste with salt and pepper. Slowly whisk in the extra virgin olive oil to emulsify the vinaigrette and just enough canola oil to balance out the acidity.
Generously season the halibut fillets with salt and white pepper and place them in the poaching liquid. Poach the fish until it feels just barely warm in the center when a metal skewer is inserted into the fish and left in for 5 seconds.
While the halibut is cooking, chop the herbs and stir the herb mix into the vinaigrette.
When the fish is cooked, remove the fillets from the poaching liquid with a slotted spatula onto a towel lined plate or tray. Then transfer the halibut fillets to large warm plates, spoon the vinaigrette over and around the fish and serve immediately.
1 quart water
6 tablespoons flour
½ cup dry white vermouth
¼ cup lemon juice
¼ cup orange juice
¼ cup sherry vinegar
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
3 to 5 tablespoons canola oil
4 (6 ounce) halibut fillets
¼ cup fresh cut chives, parsley, tarragon and chervil (Fines Herbs)
- fine sea salt and freshly ground white pepper