If you are looking for a dinner party entree or special occasion seafood dish, this one is particularly exceptional. Definitely not in the low calorie range, but it's a memorable dish, and worth the splurge. The recipe was passed on to me about a year ago by a very dear friend, and I'm so happy she shared it.
Almond Encrusted Halibut with Beurre Blanc
Select 6 (6 ounce) halibut filets, between 3/4 and 1-inch thick
1/3 cup dry white wine
2 tablespoons white wine vinegar, or champagne vinegar
2 tablespoons minced shallots
1 sprig fresh thyme
1 bay leaf
1/3 cup heavy cream
10 tablespoons unsalted butter - chilled, cut into tablespoon-size pieces (1 stick & 2 tablespoons)
3 tablespoons chopped fresh chives
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
salt and pepper to taste
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1/4 cup fresh bread crumbs
2/3 cup minced blanched almonds
1 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted
1 egg, lightly beaten
Make beurre blanc:
In a small saucepan over medium heat, combine wine, vinegar, shallots, thyme and bay leaf. Boil until liquid has evaporated. Stir in cream, and boil until liquid is reduced by half; decrease heat to low. Whisk in butter, 1 piece at a time, adding each new piece before previous one has melted completely.
Do not allow sauce to simmer, or it may separate. Strain sauce through a fine sieve into a heatproof bowl. Stir in chives, lemon juice, salt and pepper. Keep warm by setting bowl in a larger container of hot water. Set aside.
Preheat oven on broiler setting. Pat fillets dry, and season with salt and pepper. Heat oil and 1 tablespoon butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Saute halibut filets for 2 to 3 minutes on each side, or until lightly browned, and just cooked through. Transfer to a baking sheet, and cool 5 minutes.
Almond topping for the fish:
In a small bowl, stir together bread crumbs, almonds and 1 tablespoon melted butter. Brush tops of filets with egg, and spread with almond mixture. Broil filets 1 to 2 minutes, or until browned (watch closely - these can go from "almost there" to burned in the blink of an eye.
Warm dinner plates. Place filets on individual plates, and spoon beurre blanc around each piece of fish.