Recipe courtesy of Joachim B Splichal

Poached River Char with Pearl Barley, Winter Root Vegetables, Napa Riesling-Chive Veloute

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  • Level: Intermediate
  • Total: 2 hr 30 min
  • Prep: 1 hr
  • Cook: 1 hr 30 min
  • Yield: 4 servings
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For the sauce:

1 tablespoon butter, plus 1 tablespoon cold butter, cut into cubes

2 ounces diced vegetables, such as fennel, leek, celery, shallots

1 ounce vermouth (recommended: Noilly Prat)

1/4 cup dry white wine

1 1/4 cups fish stock

1 cup heavy cream

3 ounces double cream

1 bay leaf

1 clove

2 white peppercorns, crushed

2 ounces fresh chives, snipped

For the char:

4 (2 1/2- ounce) char fillets

8 cups court bouillon

For the barley risotto:

1 tablespoon butter, plus 4 tablespoons, cut into cubes

2 tablespoons shallot brunoise (1/8-inch cubes)

3 ounces pearl barley

2 tablespoons dry white wine

1/4 cup chicken stock, warmed

For the winter root vegetables:

6 ounces root vegetables, such as carrot, celeriac, leeks, and kohlrabi, julienned

Chicken stock


  1. Heat the 1 tablespoon of the butter in a skillet set over medium heat. Cook the diced vegetables until softened but not browned, and then deglaze the pan with the vermouth and white wine. Add the fish stock, cream, double cream, bay leaf, clove, and peppercorns. Cook until it thickens and then pass through a sieve. Return the sauce to the pan and simmer to reduce to the desired consistency.
  2. Before serving the sauce, stir in the 1 tablespoon of cold butter and finish with the chives.

To make the char:

  1. Bring the court bouillon to a simmer in a saucepan over low heat. Put the char fillets in a saute pan, and drain the court bouillon on top of the fish. Slowly let the fish poach without denaturing the fish protein.

To make the barley risotto:

  1. Heat 1 tablespoon of the butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Cook the shallots until softened but not browned. Add the barley and deglaze the pan with the wine. Slowly add the chicken stock, a little at a time, stirring frequently. To finish, stir in the 4 tablespoons of cubed butter.

To make the root vegetables:

  1. Bring a pot of salted water to a boil. Blanch the vegetables briefly and then shock in a bowl of ice water to stop the cooking. To serve, heat the vegetables in a saucepan with a little chicken stock.

To plate the dish:

  1. Put a spoonful of the barley risotto in the middle of a deep dish. Place the poached char on top and cover with a generous amount of the chive sauce. Decorate with the winter root vegetable julienne.