Grgich Hills Estate Winery

Pan-seared Halibut

September 5, 2013 • Posted in: Chardonnay

Halibut and Ginger…With Chardonnay Ginger Sauce

Pair with Grgich Hills Estate Chardonnay; Serves 4

Chardonnay Ginger Sauce:

  • 1 shallot, finely minced
  • 1 stalk lemongrass, cut into ¼-inch slices, soft white part only
  • 1 Tablespoon fresh ginger, peeled and sliced thinly
  • 1 teaspoon whole coriander seeds
  • 6 each whole black peppercorns
  • ½ cup light fish stock or chicken broth
  • ½ cup Chardonnay
  • ¼ cup heavy cream
  • ¼ cup coconut milk
  • ¼ cup butter, chopped, at room temperature


  • 1-2 Tablespoons oil (peanut oil or other high temperature cooking oil)
  • 1 pound halibut
  • salt and pepper

Julienne Vegetables:

  • ¼ cup fennel, cored and julienned
  • ¼ cup carrots, peeled and julienned
  • ¼ cup leeks, julienned
  • 1 teaspoon chives, cut into ¼-inch pieces

In a small saucepan combine the stock or broth, Chardonnay, lemongrass, ginger, coriander, peppercorns, and shallots. Place over medium-high heat and reduce it to ¼ cup. Strain through a fine strainer and pour the remaining broth back into the saucepan. Add the cream and coconut milk and reduce again over medium heat until this is reduced to approximately half and has slightly thickened.

Put mixture aside until you are ready to finish the sauce. Fill a medium sauce pan with ½-inch of water and place a small steamer basket in the saucepan, cover and bring the water to a boil. Once the water is boiling and there is steam, lower the heat to medium (still making steam), remove the cover and add the julienned 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.

Cut the halibut into four equal, boneless pieces. Season each portion with salt and pepper. 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!

Carefully place the halibut in the pan with the whitest side down and cook until light golden brown, about 2-4 minutes, depending on thickness. Carefully turn each piece of fish and cook on the other side for another 2 minutes, or until the halibut is slightly undercooked in the middle.

While the halibut is cooking, Mix the julienned 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. 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.

Recipe/photo: Bruce Riezenman Chef/Owner of Park Avenue Catering;
author of PairIt! mobile phone application