Halibut with Mixed Beans and Lemon-Butter Sauce


"You've got to love pan-roasted halibut," says Dressler's co-chef Polo Dobkin. "It's beautifully firm and it gets so nicely golden when you sear it." Although he and co-chef Cal Elliott don't usually make a lot of rich sauces, they adore this tangy lemon-butter sauce with fish: "The lemon brightens up the halibut," Dobkin says. More Recipes Using Sustainable Seafood

Halibut with Mixed Beans and Lemon-Butter Sauce
Photo: © James Baigrie
Total Time:
1 hrs


  • 2 pounds fresh cranberry beans, shelled (2 cups)

  • 4 garlic cloves—2 whole, 2 minced

  • 3 thyme sprigs, plus 1 teaspoon chopped thyme

  • 2 pounds fresh fava beans, shelled (2 cups)

  • 1/2 pound haricots verts

  • 1/2 pound sugar snap peas

  • 1 cup thawed frozen baby peas

  • 1 stick plus 6 tablespoons (7 ounces) unsalted butter, 12 tablespoons cubed and chilled

  • 2 shallots, minced

  • 1 cup dry white wine

  • 1 cup chicken stock

  • 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

  • Salt and freshly ground pepper

  • 2 tablespoons canola oil

  • Eight 1-inch-thick skinless halibut fillets (6 to 7 ounces each)

  • Microgreens, for garnish (optional)


  1. Bring 2 medium saucepans of water to a boil and prepare a large bowl of ice water. Add the cranberry beans, whole garlic cloves and thyme sprigs to one saucepan and simmer over moderate heat until the beans are tender, about 30 minutes. Drain the beans and discard the garlic and thyme. Wipe out the saucepan and return the beans to it.

  2. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 425°. Add the fava beans to the second saucepan of boiling water and cook for 5 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the favas to the ice water to cool.

  3. Add the haricots verts to the boiling water and cook until crisp-tender, about 4 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the haricots verts to the ice water to cool. Add the sugar snaps to the boiling water and cook for 2 minutes. Drain and add them to the ice water. Drain all the beans and peas and pat dry; pop the favas out of their outer skins. Add the beans, sugar snaps and baby peas to the cranberry beans.

  4. Wipe out the medium saucepan and melt the 2 tablespoons of butter. Add the shallots and minced garlic and cook over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until softened. Add the wine and cook until nearly evaporated, about 10 minutes. Add the chicken stock and cook until reduced to 1/4 cup, about 6 minutes. Reduce the heat to moderately low and whisk in the cubes of cold butter, a few at a time, until a creamy sauce forms. Add 1 tablespoon of the lemon juice and season the sauce lightly with salt and pepper. Pour all but 1/4 cup of the butter sauce over the vegetables and keep warm.

  5. Heat the oil in a very large ovenproof skillet. Pat the halibut dry and season with salt and pepper. Add the fillets to the skillet and cook over high heat until lightly browned, about 3 minutes. Transfer the skillet to the oven and cook until the halibut is almost opaque throughout, about 5 minutes. Carefully turn the fillets. Add the remaining butter sauce to the skillet with the remaining 2 tablespoons of lemon juice and the chopped thyme. Cook over moderate heat just until the sauce is bubbling and the fish is just cooked through. Transfer the halibut fillets to plates and spoon the lemon-butter sauce on top. Garnish with the microgreens and serve with the beans.

Make Ahead

The recipe can be prepared through Step 3 one day ahead. Refrigerate the vegetables; let return to room temperature before proceeding.

Suggested Pairing

The light sauce on this halibut would be overwhelmed by a big Chardonnay from a warm wine region. Instead, turn to a lively Chardonnay from a cool climate, like Oregon's Columbia Valley.

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