Braised Halibut with Carrots and Coriander

I’ve been looking at this recipe for a few months now, all the time trying to find 1″-thick halibut in my local markets. I finally gave up, and used Chilean Sea Bass (which was still 10 miles from my home). The recipe shaves the carrots into thin ribbons so that they cook through quickly, and in the same 10 minute time-frame as the fish. The fish is par-cooked on one side in melted butter, so that it is cooks evenly. My one problem was that I ended up overcooking the fish; after 10 minutes of braising, the fish registered 120-degrees; then 3 minutes later it registered 165-degrees. Opps. While I lost some of the firm texture associated with this premium-fish, the flavors were nevertheless delicious. 4-stars.

Delicious dinner; but not worth the pricey fish.

Delicious dinner; but not worth the pricey fish.

The recipe is delicious; the carrots and wonderfully flavored and bold. However, the carrots over-power the delicate fish. It’s not worth the premium price of $23/lb, when most of what you taste is the delicious carrots. I will definitely make this recipe again; but maybe using $7/lb cod. Tonight, I ate the fish and the carrots in separate bites; both were delicious. In fact, the carrots might have even been more delicious than the fish.


  1. The main version of this recipe (which is here) serves 4 people. It would cost over $50. Chris Kimball has this “online extra” version that essentially cuts everything in half. That is the version I cooked today. My oldest son will not eat fish (and only eats carrots reluctantly).
  2. Chris Kimball says that striped bass or sea bass make a good substitute for Halibut. Look for fish that is between 3/4″ and 1″ thick. Next time I am going to look for a less expensive fish.
  3. I cooked today using my 10″-skillet because by filets were relatively long. The original recipe calls for an 8″ skillet.

Rating: 4-stars.
Cost: $26 for 2.
How much work? Low.
How big of a mess? Low/Medium.
Start: 5:30 PM. End time: 6:00 PM.

The original Cook’s Illustrated recipe is here. The recipe as I cooked it today is as follows:

1-lb skinless halibut fillets, 3/4″ to 1″ thick
Salt and pepper
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
3 carrots
2 shallots
1/4 teaspoon ground coriander seed
1/3 cup dry white wine
3/4 teaspoon lemon juice, plus lemon wedges for serving
1-1/2 teaspoons minced fresh cilantro

  1. Cut you fish into two 8-oz  fillets. Sprinkle with 1/4 teaspoon salt. Peel the carrots, then shave then with vegetable peeler lengthwise into ribbons. Peel shallots, cut in half and slice thin.
  2. Set and 8″-to-10″ skillet over low burner and melt 3 tablespoons butter. Put fish in skillet, with the presentation side down, turning up burner to medium. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes until the butter begins to brown (fish should not brown), occasionally swirling the pan. Use a  spatula to carefully move fish to plate, with the raw side down.
  3. With the skillet still over medium burner, add shaved carrots, shallots, 1/4 teaspoon ground coriander, and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Stir often for 1 to 2 minutes until the vegetables are beginning to soften. Add 1/3-cup wine and bring up to a gentle simmer. Return fish to skillet on top of vegetables with the raw-side-down. Cover skillet and adjust burner to maintain a gentle simmer. Cook for between 10 to 14 minutes; until the fish measures between 135 and 140 degrees.
  4. Use 2 spatulas to remove fish and vegetables to serving platter; the carrots on the bottom. Tent loosely with aluminum foil while
  5. Add carrots, shallots, coriander, and 1/4 teaspoon salt to skillet and cook, stirring frequently, until vegetables begin to soften, 1 to 2 minutes. Add wine and bring to gentle simmer. Place fish, raw side down, on top of vegetables. Cover skillet and cook, adjusting heat to maintain gentle simmer, until fish registers 135 to 140 degrees, 10 to 14 minutes. Remove skillet from burner, and use 2 spatulas to remove fish and vegetables to serving platter (or individual plates). Tent loosely with aluminum foil while you finish the sauce.
  6. Put skillet over high burner and cook for 1 minutes until the sauce has thickened.
  7. Remove skillet from burner and stir in 3/4 teaspoon lemon juice (from one lemon wedge). Adjust seasoning with salt and pepper according to your taste. Spoon sauce over the fish and sprinkle with cilantro. Serve with lemon wedges.
Shave the carrots into ribbons with a vegetable peeler

Shave the carrots into ribbons with a vegetable peeler

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