In my humble opinion, this recipe for Tarragon Roasted Halibut with Hazelnut Brown Butter would be an excellent “wow factor “dinner party entree, particularly if you can get a really nice big piece of fresh halibut. The combination of tarragon, hazelnuts, browned butter and halibut just works. Cooking the halibut on a low temp means that it comes out flaky and light. I found this incredibly appealing. I could have eaten the hazelnut brown butter by itself. In fact, I would not be surprised if I make it in the near future to put one something else, be it chicken or vegetables or some other fish.
But, in the interest of full disclosure, my husband disagreed with my overall assessment. He thought the fish was a little bit slimy and a tad fishy. It was like we had eaten two different meals. I suspect that his portion of the fillet had a fishy bit in it, which can ruin any fish meal. My son thought it was delicious and gobbled it up. My daughter refused to try it, so her opinion will never be.
But to address the “slime concern,” I do think I might change the recipe next time to actually roast the halibut at 425 for less time (more like 15 minutes) so that it gets a little browned in the oven.
One more thing. I’ve included the original recipe here so that you can make it for a crowd. I simply bought a pound of halibut, which can serve 2-3 adults or 2 adults and 2 kids. I adjusted the recipe accordingly, and it worked.
- ½ cup blanched hazelnuts
- 1 large bunch fresh tarragon
- 1 3-3½-pound skinless halibut fillet (halved lengthwise if very wide)
- 4 tablespoons olive oil, divided
- Kosher salt, freshly ground pepper
- ½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
- ¼ cup fresh lemon juice
- Lemon halves
- Preheat oven to 350°. Spread hazelnuts in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet and toast, stirring occasionally, until golden, 8-10 minutes. Note: If using skin-on hazelnuts, rub them inside a clean kitchen towel after they've been toasted—the skins will slip right off.
- Coarsely chop; set aside.
- Reduce oven temperature to 300°. Scatter tarragon sprigs on a large rimmed baking sheet. Place halibut on top, drizzle with 2 tablespoons oil, and season with salt and pepper.
- Roast until halibut is just opaque in the center, 20-30 minutes, depending on thickness of fish.
- Meanwhile, melt butter in a small saucepan over medium-high heat. Cook, stirring often, until butter foams, then browns (don't let it burn), about 5 minutes.
- Remove from heat; let brown butter cool slightly.
- Stir in lemon juice, hazelnuts, and remaining 2 tablespoons oil; season with salt and pepper.
- Serve fish with hazelnut brown butter sauce and lemon halves.