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Halibut with Braised Romaine and Cumin Brown Butter

Giving Top Chef Masters winner Chris Cosentino random animal parts, like hearts and brains, isn’t a challenge—that’s what the chef of San Francisco’s Incanto is known for. So F&W gave him a bigger test: halibut. To keep the fish moist (he finds it dry), Cosentino sears it in cumin-spiked brown butter.

  • Total Time:
  • Servings: 4

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  • 1 pound new potatoes

  • 2 serrano chiles, one halved lengthwise, one seeded and thinly sliced

  • 3 mint sprigs—leaves chopped, stems reserved

  • Kosher salt

  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

  • 12 large radishes, quartered lengthwise

  • Freshly ground pepper

  • 2 small romaine hearts—large inner leaves halved lengthwise and small leaves left whole

  • 1/2 cup low-sodium chicken broth

  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter

  • Four 6-ounce skinless halibut fillets

  • 3/4 teaspoon ground cumin

  • 1/2 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest

  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice


  1. In a medium saucepan, cover the potatoes with water. Add the halved serrano, the mint stems and a generous pinch of salt and bring to a boil. Cook over moderate heat until the potatoes are tender, about 10 minutes. Drain the potatoes and let cool slightly; discard the chile and mint stems. Cut the potatoes in half.
  2. In a very large skillet, heat 2 tablespoons of the oil. Add the radishes and a generous pinch each of salt and pepper and cook over moderately high heat until just softened, 1 to 2 minutes. Fold in all of the romaine and the sliced serrano. Add the broth and cook over moderate heat, tossing, until the lettuce is just wilted and the radishes are crisp-tender, about 4 minutes. Stir in the potatoes and the chopped mint and season with salt and pepper; transfer to a bowl and keep warm.
  3. Wipe out the skillet and melt the butter in the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil. Season the halibut with salt and pepper and cook over moderate heat until the butter is golden and the fish is browned on the bottom, 3 minutes. Turn the fish. Add the cumin to the butter and cook, spooning the butter over the fish until just cooked through, about 3 minutes. Transfer to plates; spoon the vegetables alongside. Add the lemon zest and juice to the skillet; season with salt and pepper. Spoon the brown butter over the fish and vegetables and serve.

Suggested Pairing

Dry, full-bodied Riesling.

Contributed By Photo © William Brinson Published December 2012

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