Braising involves cooking a protein in a small amount of liquid at a low heat, covered for an extended amount of time. This method allows for a flavorful, tender food, by breaking down the fibers. A tight fitting lid is important. Do not create too much liquid either, this can cause the fish to become mushy.
This recipe is from America’s Test Kitchen season 16 and provides a light, easy weeknight meal. Halibut is an expensive cut of fish. It is low in fat, white, firm and has a buttery flavor. Make sure to buy fillets, which is usually available either fresh or frozen.
It is very important for cooks to realize, leeks are full of dirt, whether you can see it or not. Dirt gets down in between the leaves. The best way to get it clean is to cut it first, then wash it in cool water, using a colander. Leeks have the sharpness of an onion, but are smooth like a parsnip. Looking like a giant scallion, the leak is related to both the garlic and the onion, with a subtle, milder flavor. It has a thick, white stalk that is cylindrical in shape and has a slightly bulbous root end. Make sure to choose those with brightly colored leaves and unblemished white portion. First cut off the green, leafy end, just above where the white to light green color meets. Discard the leafy ends.
Cut off the very tip at the root end of the stalk, discard.
Cut vertically down the center of the remaining stalk.
Lay cut side down, cut vertically down the leek again, forming two stalks.
1 pound leeks, white and light green parts only, halved lengthwise, sliced thin, washed thoroughly
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
3/4 cup dry white wine
1 teaspoon lemon juice, plus lemon wedges for serving
1 Tablespoon minced fresh parsley
Sprinkle thawed fish with 1/2 teaspoon salt. Melt butter in 12″ skillet over low heat. Place fish in skillet, skinned side up, increase heat to medium, and cook, shaking pan occasionally to avoid sticking, until butter just begins to turn brown (fish should not be brown), 3-4 minutes. Using a spatula, carefully transfer fish to a large plate, raw side down.
After making sure leeks have been thoroughly washed and dried (using a salad spinner or kitchen towel) add leeks to skillet, add mustard, and 1/2 teaspoon salt and cook. Stir frequently, until leeks begin to soften, 2-4 minutes. Add wine and bring to a gentle simmer.
Return fish, raw side down, to skillet, sitting fish on top of leeks. Cover, cook adjusting heat to a gentle simmer, until fish registers 135º. Should take 10-14 minutes.
Remove from heat and using 2 spatulas, transfer fish and leeks to a serving platter and tent loosely with aluminum foil.
Return skillet to high heat and simmer briskly until sauce has thickened, 2-3 minutes. Remove pan from heat, stir in lemon juice and season with salt and pepper. Spoon sauce over fish and sprinkle with parsley.