Poached Halibut in Caviar Beurre Blanc Recipe | Wine Enthusiast
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Poached Halibut in Caviar Beurre Blanc Recipe

Courtesy Charlie Palmer, chef/owner, Dry Creek Kitchen, Healdsburg, CA

Not only does one of Iron Horse Vineyards’s most celebrated sparkling wines pair masterfully with this dish, it’s also used in the preparation. The wine is a perfect companion to the rich fish, salty beets and caviar accent.

The Chef

Charlie Palmer

The nationally acclaimed Palmer grew up on a farm in upstate New York and runs restaurants around the country. He opened Dry Creek Kitchen in the boutique Hotel Healdsburg in 2001, which kicked off a culinary renaissance throughout the wine country town. In addition to highlighting the best locally inspired fare, the restaurant offers more than 500 selections of Sonoma County wines, the largest collection of its kind in the world.


4 quarts fish stock
4 bay leaves
½ bunch thyme
1 tablespoon coriander
11 sprigs and 1 bunch parsley, plus more,
for garnish
4 6-ounce halibut fillets
Sea salt and pepper, to taste
1 lemon, juiced, plus more, to taste
6 ⅓ ounces sparkling wine
½ cup cold butter, diced
⅛ teaspoon sugar
1 ounce caviar, preferably American Hackleback sturgeon
2 cups olive oil
Salt-roasted baby beets, for serving (recipe and directions below)


In deep sauté pan, combine fish stock, bay leaves, thyme, coriander and 6 sprigs parsley over medium heat. Bring to boil, then reduce to simmer for 20 minutes. Strain and return liquid to pan.

Warm to very low simmer.

Season halibut with salt, pepper and lemon juice. Add to pan and poach until cooked through, 6–7 minutes. Carefully remove halibut with fish spatula.

To make beurre blanc, chop leaves from 5 sprigs parsley. Combine bare stems in pot with wine.

Cook over medium heat until reduced by half. Reduce heat to very low simmer, discard parsley stems and add butter slowly. Stir quickly until butter incorporates and sauce is creamy. Season with sugar, salt, pepper and lemon juice, to taste. Gently fold in chopped parsley leaves and caviar.

Place olive oil and leaves from remaining parsley bunch in blender. Purée until bright green. Strain through fine-mesh strainer or coffee filter.

Spoon beurre blanc onto plate and top with halibut. Arrange beets around fish. Garnish with parsley oil and additional parsley leaves. Serves 4.

Ingredients for Salt Baked Baby Beets

2 bunches red heirloom baby beets
3 pounds rock sea salt

Directions for Salt Baked Baby Beets

Heat oven to 350˚F. Trim tops of beets, and wash with warm water. On baking sheet, spread rock sea salt to cover bottom of pan. Place beets on salt, and cover with aluminum foil. Bake until soft, approximately 40–45 minutes. (Check with cake tester.) Cool beets for 10 minutes. While still warm, peel beets with soft towel. Slice in half.

Pair It

Iron Horse 2014 Wedding Cuvée Estate Bottled Sparkling Wine (Green Valley), $45. A blend of 72% Pinot Noir and 28% Chardonnay, this is a stunning vintage of the perennially impressive sparkler. Nutty and earthy, it sings in strawberry, wet stone and rose petal. The palate offers a lively mousse and persistent acidity, which makes it a vibrant complement to the tangy beurre blanc.

The Winemaker

David Munksgard

Munksgard has been with Iron Horse Vineyards since 1996. Considered an “extended family” member of the Sterlings, who own the winery, he shares their vision to make estate-grown wines at the highest level and, in addition to a fine lineup of sparkling wines, makes still Pinot Noir and Chardonnay from the property.

Munksgard also supports the winery’s aim to do good, and produces a limited edition Blanc de Blancs called Ocean Reserve via a partnership with National Geographic as well as the popular Rainbow Cuvée bottling, created in support of LGBT rights.

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