Pan Seared Halibut with a Chardonnay Ginger Sauce

Serves 4

Here is a great dish for Chardonnay. If the wine rich and creamy/buttery, they will compliment each other. The ginger in the sauce helps to connect the flavors of Chardonnay which often have aromas of pear and apple. The ginger and the chili sauce add enough spice and sharpness to keep the flavors clean. This dish also works well with a wine that has a good amount of acidity, which cuts right through the richness of the sauce and refreshes your palate for the next bite. If you wish to serve this with a sweeter or fruitier wine, just increase the amount of chili sauce to add additional heat, and increase the amount of lime and orange zest (or try adding a little lemon juice and see what it does!).

  • 1 each  Shallots, finely minced
  • 1 each Lemongrass, cut into 1/4” thick slices, soft white part only
  • 1 Tablespoon  Fresh ginger, peeled and sliced into thin slices
  • 1 teaspoon  Whole coriander seeds
  • 1 teaspoon  Whole black peppercorns
  • 1/2 cup  Light fish stock or chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup Chardonnay
  • 1/4 cup Heavy Cream
  • 1/4 cup Coconut Milk
  • 1/4 cup Fennel, cored and cut into julliene strips
  • 1/4 cup Carrots,  peeled and cut into julienne strips
  • 1/4 cup Leeks, Jullienne
  • 1-2 Tablespoons Peanut oil (or other high temp cooking oil: light olive oil or canola)
  • 1 pound Halibut, cut into 4 – 1/4 pound boneless pieces
  • 1/4 teaspoon  orange zest, use a microplane
  • 1/4 teaspoon Lime zest, use a microplane
  • 1/2 teaspoon  Sweet hot chili sauce (or more to taste)
  • 1/4 cup butter, chopped into pieces, at room temperature
  • to taste  Sea salt and Pepper
  • 1 teaspoon Chives, cut into 1/4inch pieces
  • 1 teaspoon  Sesame Seeds


  1. In a small sauce pan, combine stock or broth, chardonnay, lemongrass and shallots. Place over medium high heat and reduce it to 1/4 cup. Strain through a fine strainer and place the remaining broth back into the sauce pan. Add the cream and coconut milk and reduce again over medium heat until this is reduced to approximately half and has slightly thickened.
  2. Put this mixture aside until you are ready to finish the sauce.
  3. Fill a medium sauce pan with 1/2 inch of water andplace a small steamer basket in the sauce pan, cover and bring the water to a biol. Once the water is boiling and there is steam, lower the heat to medium (still making stem), remove the cover and add the jullienned vegetables. Cover and steam for 2-3 minutes so the vegetables are still slightly crisp but not raw. Remove and spread out on a plate to cool.
  4. Season each portion of halibut with salt and pepper.
  5. In a heavy duty cast iron skillet or other cooking pan on medium to medium high heat, place the peanut oil in the pan and let it heat until you see the oil starting to ripple when you tilt the pan. Make sure you do not heat it so far that it starts to smoke!
  6. Carefully place the halibut in the pan with the whitest side down and cook until light golden brown (2-4 minutes depending thickness). Carefully turn each piece of fish and cook on other side for another 2 minutes or until the halibut is still slightly undercooked  in the middle.
  7. While the halibut is cooking, Mix the jullienned vegetables together and spread them in the center of each four pre-warmed plates. Place the small sauce pan with the sauce reduction back on a medium-low fire and bring it to a simmer. As it simmers, whisk in the softened butter so that is becomes part of the sauce.
  8. Place the cooked halibut on top of the vegetables (you should still see some of them sticking out around the halibut), then pour the sauce evenly over the halibut so that it pools onto the plate. Sprinkle with chives and serve immediately.

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