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Duck Fat-Poached Halibut
Serves 2
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Photo by Greg Rannells
October 2011

Duck Fat-Poached Halibut
Read the article: Chewing the Fat: Duck fat is in, and whether it’s thanks to the nose-to-tail regime or to its redeeming health qualities, who knows? But when it tastes this good, who really cares?


2 halibut filets, skin removed
2 garlic cloves, sliced in half lengthwise, plus 2 additional cloves, minced
2 bay leaves
4 3-inch strips zest from Meyer lemon
4 cups, plus 1 Tbsp., duck fat, divided
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
¼ cup Meyer lemon juice
¼ cup dry white wine
1 Tbsp. capers
1 Tbsp. minced shallot
½ tsp. red pepper flakes
1 Tbsp. unsalted butter
1 bunch watercress, cleaned, trimmed and patted dry
¼ cup chicken stock
2 Tbsp. cider vinegar


• Place the halibut filets in a covered container with 2 halved garlic cloves, bay leaves and Meyer lemon zest, and place in the refrigerator for at least 2 and up to 24 hours.
• In a skillet or saucepan large enough to hold the filets, melt 4 cups of the duck fat over low-medium heat until the fat reaches 150 degrees.
• Remove the halibut from the container and sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste.
• Place the halibut inside the duck fat, cover and cook for about 3 minutes. Remove the saucepan from the heat, keep covered, and set aside for about 10 to 15 minutes or until the halibut is cooked through; uncover, and remove from the duck fat.
• Meanwhile, make the caper-shallot sauce: In a small skillet, combine the lemon juice, white wine, capers, shallot and red pepper flakes over medium heat and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 10 minutes until reduced a bit. Swirl in the butter, and remove from heat. Season with salt and pepper and set aside.
• Put the remaining 1 tablespoon of duck fat in a medium-sized skillet over medium heat. Add the remaining 2 minced garlic cloves and sauté until fragrant.
• Add the watercress to the skillet, and toss to coat. Pour in the chicken stock and let cook, covered, for 30 seconds. Remove from the heat, and toss in the vinegar.
• To serve: Divide the wilted watercress between 2 plates, place a halibut filet on each bed of watercress and spoon the caper-shallot sauce over the filets.

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