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Paltus po-astrakhanski

Halibut Steaks with Caviar
Paltus po-astrakhanski

These halibut steaks topped with a delicate mirepoix are exquisite as they are, but the caviar garnish gilds the lily. The dish is named after the port city of Astrakhan on the Caspian Sea, where much of the caviar is processed.


4 halibut steaks (about lb/225 g each)
1 carrot, scraped and finely chopped
8 fluid oz (225 ml) dry white wine
2 oz (60 g) mushrooms, finely chopped
6 peppercorns
Salt, pepper to taste
2 cloves garlic
3 tablespoons flour
1 bay leaf
pint double cream
teaspoon marjoram
4 teaspoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 oz (75 g) butter
1 small onion, finely chopped
3 tablespoons black caviar
2 oz (60 g) green beans, finely chopped
2 teaspoons black caviar


Serves: 4


First prepare a mirepoix: Mix together the finely chopped onion, green beans, carrot, mushrooms, salt and pepper. Place the veget­ables in an ovenproof dish and coat them with 1 oz (30g) butter. Cover and bake at 180°C/350°F/Gas 4 for 30 minutes.

Put the halibut steaks in a large, shallow, ovenproof dish along with the white wine, peppercorns, garlic, bay leaf and marjoram. Cover and poach in a preheated 180°C/350°F/Gas 4 oven for 15 to 20 minutes or until the fish is done.

Remove the halibut from the poaching liquid and keep it warm. Reserve the liquid.

In a medium saucepan melt the remaining 1 ½ oz (45 g) butter and stir in the flour. Cook over low heat for just a minute. Stir in the poaching liquid, whisking constantly, and cook until the sauce has thickened.

Then stir in the double cream, lemon juice and 3 tablespoons of caviar.

Place the halibut steaks on a serving platter. Top each steak with some of the mirepoix, spreading it rather thickly over the top of each steak. Pour the sauce over the vegetables and fish, and garnish each steak with ½ teaspoon of black caviar. Serve immediately.

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