Yield: 2 servings
Simplicity is one of my favorite things about French Cuisine (as opposed to butter and cream). When visiting France from my kitchen, I honor each ingredient and create dishes that are delicate and delicious but not heavy and high in calories. This is a very simple dish with amazing flavors—the wine broth is rich and savory and complements the delicacy of the fish. THIS is my French fare—guilt free, nutritious, and oh-so-fancy!
- Coarse sea salt and freshly ground pepper
- Olive oil
- 1/2 cup white onion, chopped
- 3 garlic cloves, chopped
- Sprig fresh tarragon
- 2 cups dry white wine
- 1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
- 8 mussels (preferably cultivated), scrubbed well and beards removed
- 2 1-¼” slices of a French baguette
- 1 clove garlic
- 1 cup fennel, very thinly sliced (ribbons)
- ½ tsp fresh lemon juice
- 1 tsp fresh tarragon, finely chopped
- 2 halibut fillets (5-6 oz each)
- Canola oil
Heat 2 tbsp olive oil in a large, deep skillet. Sauté white onion at medium-high heat until translucent. Add garlic and sprig of tarragon; sauté for about a minute or until the garlic is fragrant. Add wine and lemon juice and bring to a boil. Bring heat to low and reduce wine by half, for about 6-8 minutes.
Add mussels and cook, covered, until mussels just open wide (start checking frequently after 5 minutes). Transfer mussels to a large bowl using a slotted spoon and discard any unopened mussels. Pour liquid through a fine-mesh sieve into a small bowl and set aside.
Preheat oven at 400˚ F
Place the bread on a baking sheet and brush both side of each slice with olive oil, then lightly season with salt and pepper. Bake for 8-10 minutes, turning once, or until light golden brown. Remove from the oven and let cool slightly.
Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in heavy large skillet over medium-high heat. Add fennel ribbons and sauté until slightly wilted, just a few minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Transfer to a platter and drizzle lemon juice and tarragon; toss and set aside.
Drizzle fish with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Heat 2 tbsp canola oil in a heavy skillet over moderate high heat, until it is hot but not smoking). Sauté halibut for about 5 minutes on each side until golden brown and just cooked through in the center (roughly 145˚ F internal temperature). Transfer to plate and keep warm.
Time to plate!
√ Place crouton in the center of a shallow bowl and top with halibut. Arrange half of the fennel ribbons on top of the fish. Place 4 mussels on the bottom of each plate, around the crouton. Gently pour about 1/3 cup of broth on top of the mussels and around the bottom of the plate. Garnish with fennel greens.
TIP: I also love lemon but… Do not add any to the fish until it has been cooked. Too much acidity will break down the flesh of the fish and it may break easily in the pan.