Recipe courtesy of Jan Birnbaum

Blanquette of Halibut and Clams with Lemon Dumplings

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  • Level: Advanced
  • Total: 3 hr 40 min
  • Prep: 1 hr 10 min
  • Inactive: 50 min
  • Cook: 1 hr 40 min
  • Yield: 12 servings
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Lemon Pepper Dumplings:

Parsley Oil:

Meyer Lemon Oil:


  1. Whisk the butter and flour in a saute pan. Cook while whisking over medium to low heat for 5 minutes. Reserve roux.
  2. Season the halibut and salmon with salt and pepper. In a deep saucepot, sear the fish in a 3 tablespoons of butter and a 2 tablespoon of olive oil. Sear and reserve leaving fish as raw as possible. Season with additional salt, pepper, and cayenne.
  3. In the same pan, add the potatoes, fennel wedges, poblano, leeks, turnips, carrots, and cauliflower with 2 tablespoons butter (this will help caramelize the vegetables).
  4. When caramelized, add the bay leaves, garlic, and pearl onions. Cook until vegetables just begin to color. Deglaze with brandy, allow to reduce until mostly dry. Add white wine and reduce to almost dry. Add fish stock or water. Allow to simmer for 5 minutes.
  5. Add cream and veal demi-glace. Return to moderate heat and allow to reduce slightly. Whisk in a few tablespoons at a time of the roux while the liquid is simmering gently. You may find you don't need to use all of the roux.
  6. Add thyme leaves. Return to light boil and add clams. As they begin to open, add spinach, shallots, and lemon juice to the sauce. Remove from the heat.
  7. Add Lemon Pepper Dumplings and stir gently. Add halibut and salmon. Ladle into bowls. Flake smoked sea bass over. Sprinkle with chopped parsley and drizzle with Parsley Oil.

Lemon Pepper Dumplings:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Coat the potatoes with olive oil. Place them on a rack on a sheet pan. Roast in oven until soft to the center, about 30 minutes.
  3. Allow to cool enough to handle. It is very important that they be assembled out of hot potatoes. Squeeze the potato flesh out of the skins and into a food mill. Mill the potatoes. Weigh the potato puree and determine the amount of egg yolks and flour to be added.
  4. Shape the potato puree into a large well. Sprinkle the potatoes with the nutmeg and the grated Parmesan. Surround the well of potatoes with a larger well of flour, measured 1 cup to each pound of riced potatoes. Sprinkle the salt and pepper onto the flour. Add 2 yolks per pound of potatoes into the center of the well. Pour the lemon oil, zest, and juice in the center of the well. Using a meat fork, incorporate the eggs first into the potatoes and then into the flour, just enough to get them mostly together. Then, use your hands to need the mass into a dough. Use additional flour thrown on the dough and the work surface as necessary to form a soft dough.
  5. Allow to rest covered with plastic for 20 minutes. Knead the dough again and then shape it into a 2-inch thick rectangle. Using a dough cutter cut off a 1-inch ribbon of dough. Flour your work surface lightly and using your hands roll the dough into a round tube about 1/2-inch in diameter. With a dough cutter, make 1/2-inch long dumplings. Gently roll the pieces on the floured surface. Using a gnocchi board roll the pieces into dumplings with a dimple in the center. Place dumpling on a half sheet pan covered in parchment and sprinkled with flour and cornmeal.

Parsley Oil:

  1. Blanch the parsley and spinach. Shock in salted ice water and squeeze the water out. Place the parsley spinach mix into a blender with the olive oil. Blend on low for 3 to 4 minutes. Place cheesecloth into china cap (or fine-mesh sieve) and pour the oil into it, to gravity strain. Reserve the resulting bright green parsley oil.

Meyer Lemon Oil:

Yield: About 1 cup
  1. Heat the oil to about 110 degrees F. Place the lemon zest in a blender. Pour the hot oil over it. Run blender on slowest speed for about 1 minute. Allow each to sit overnight. The next day, strain the oil through a cheesecloth.

Cook’s Note

I like to freeze the dumplings for about 30 minutes before blanching them. It seems to strengthen them without toughening them. Blanch in salted water like pasta. Toss in olive oil and reserve.

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