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Local Flavor: Halibut
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Recipe courtesy of Coqueta

Halibut a la Vasco con Albuias en Salsa Verde (Basque-Style Halibut with White Beans and Herb Sauce)

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  • Level: Easy
  • Total: 16 hr 30 min
  • Prep: 15 min
  • Inactive: 12 hr
  • Cook: 4 hr 15 min
  • Yield: 4 servings


White Beans: 

Fish Stock:

White Bean Stew:




  1. For the white beans: Put the white beans in a container with the 4 cups water and soak overnight. The next day, drain the water and put the white beans, salt, carrot, celery, thyme, bay leaf, onion and 6 cups water in a large pot and bring to a boil over high heat. Lower the heat to a simmer and skim any foam that forms on top. Simmer gently so as not to break the beans, until they are soft in the middle, about 2 hours. Take the pot off the heat and let the beans cool in the liquid. Drain, reserving the bean cooking liquid.
  2. For the fish stock: Put the olive oil, fennel, leek and onion in a 1-gallon stock pot and cook over medium heat to soften without browning, about 2 minutes. Add the wine and lemon juice. While that is going, wash the fish bones in cold water and then add to the pot with the bay leaf and 8 cups cold water. Bring the stock up to a rolling boil, then lower the heat and simmer, skimming off any foam that forms on top, for 30 minutes. Remove from the heat, cover, and let steep for 30 minutes. Strain the stock and cool in an ice bath. (Makes about 6 cups; leftover fish stock can be refrigerated for 3 days or frozen for 2 months.) 
  3. For the white bean stew: Heat the oil in a large saucepan over low heat, add the garlic and let it brown slowly. Once it starts smelling of cooked garlic, whisk in the flour so it dissolves into the oil to make a roux. Whisk in the wine and 2 cups of the fish stock until smooth. Increase the heat to medium high, bring the stew to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. If the sauce gets too thick, add up to 1 cup of the reserved bean cooking liquid. Add the white beans and simmer for another 10 minutes. Season with salt, pepper and 2 teaspoons Calabrian chile flakes-add more if you prefer spicy. Add a little lemon zest and juice. Keep the stew warm while you cook the clams and halibut. Just before serving add the parsley to keep it as green and fresh as possible.
  4. For clams: Put the clams in a pot and with wine to cover. Cover the pot and bring the wine to a boil over high heat, to gently open the clams. As soon as the clams start to open, use a slotted spoon to transfer them to a plate.
  5. For the fish: Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Season the halibut on both sides with salt and pepper. Sear the fish skin-side down until the first layer of fish starts to turn white, about 3 minutes. Flip, and cook until sides of the filets have turned white and the fish feels firm in the middle when you push down on the tops, another 2 minutes.
  6. To serve: Stir the parsley into the white bean stew. Divide the stew and clams among 4 bowls and top each with a piece of halibut, skin-side up. Sprinkle with some chopped parsley and serve.

Cook’s Note

Fabes are white beans from Asturias, Spain.