Halibut with Asparagus Veloute

This recipe is adapted from a Gordon Ramsey creation. It uses surprisingly few ingredients. The key here is that there will be few goes back and forth with ice bath, pureeing, straining and re-heating the asparagus and sauce. However, this can be done one sauce pan, one saute pan, a chinois and a bowl (or two).

Fresh tagliatelle is an option and was my original plan. Then, after buying halibut and asparagus, I realized I only had one egg - not enough for fresh pasta for five people. Oops.

Halibut with Asparagus Veloute

1 pound asparagus, trimmed carefully.
  • Only break off the smallest stem end piece you can. Most of the asparagus will be pureed. Then trim the tips to 2" lengths.
  • Prepare an ice bath. Sounds fancy right? It's a bowl of water with ice cubes - big enough to hold the asparagus. 
  • Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.
  • Toss the asparagus in the water for 3 minutes. Test for doneness, and remove with a strainer or slotted spoon and immediately place in the ice bath. 
  • When cool, reserve the tips and chop the stems into small pieces
1 shallot, diced
1/2 cup fresh fennel, diced
2 sprigs fresh tarragon
1 cup chicken or fish stock
2 cups baby spinach leaves
3 tablespoons heavy cream
  • Saute shallots, fennel and tarragon in 2 tablespoons olive oil until softened, about 4 minutes.
  • Season with salt and fresh ground pepper
  • Add the stock and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer for 4 minutes.
  • Add the spinach until it is wilted and fully incorporated. Remove from heat.
  • Blend these sauce ingredients, and pass through a chinois into a bowl. Return sauce to a small saucepan over a very, very low flame.
  • When you start the step below for cooking the fish, add asparagus tips to sauce to heat through.
1 pound fettuccine
2 tablespoons butter
Kosher salt
  • Return water in large pot to a boil. Add pasta and cook per directions.
  • Drain and rinse pasta, then drain and rinse one more time with warm water. Quickly add butter, combine to melt, then return to the pan to the warm burner (turned off). This will keep the pasta warm but not sticking to itself. Season with a pinch of kosher salt.
5 portions halibut fillet, approx. 1/3 pound each, about 1 inch thick or slightly thicker
3/4  cups chicken or fish stock
Fresh chives
  • Heat a tablespoon of oil in a nonstick skillet.
  • Season fish with salt and fresh ground pepper
  • Add asparagus tips to saucepan with veloute
  • Cook the fish for 1 minute per side.
  • Add stock and bring to a boil. Continuously spoon the sauce over the fish. You may want to tilt the pan to gather the stock from the edges.
  • Cook until stock has mostly evaporated, and fish is cooked through.
Serve fish atop a bundle of fettuccine, placing asparagus tips decoratively. Spoon a liberal amount of veloute over the fish and surrounding the pasta (even though I didn't do that in the pciture above - it would look better!).

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