11-1: Steamed Halibut with Vermouth

I had mentioned in 11-5: Lemon Pepper Scallops that we had a plan to cook more of the Fish/Seafood and Beef recipes since we had already gone through a good portion of the Chicken/Poultry, Pork, and Ground Meat/Sausage ones. Summer got busy, and not as many of those recipes got made as I had intended. I made 11-1: Steamed Halibut with Vermouth during those summer months but I never wrote about it until now (while I clear out the queue).

I’ll agree with the method of cooking being excellent: the fish component came out great. I’m not a huge pea or vermouth fan so the sauce was probably not one I would repeat, but it was a well-done sauce otherwise. Technique-wise I feel like it’s definitely one of Simply Delicious‘ stronger offerings–if you’re really into 1980s-style food.

They mention that you can use other fish than what the recipe is designed for, and we’ve made that choice on occasion. However, I feel that it’s worth it to try to stick to the recipe as much as possible (despite what the rest of this project would suggest), especially when it’s for a recipe like this where it’s the main component paired with a sauce that I just don’t think would be good with their suggested alternative of salmon.

Ingredients. Aforementioned halibut, courtesy of a Costco sale. Dry vermouth was borrowed from my mom–I think they’ve had that bottle as long as I’ve been alive. I actually have fish bouillon–it was impossible to find in my local supermarkets, so I ordered it from Amazon. The package I have is written mostly in Portuguese, but it gets the job done. I couldn’t decide between white pepper and lemon pepper, so I went with both.

Here’s my foil in my ovenproof dish. This is halfway lined–I overlap the other side to ensure full coverage.

Butter melting.

Measured out the ancient vermouth and started heating the pan to make sauce.

Breaking up the fish bouillon cube in some water. The cubes come in a 1 cube-to-1 cup ratio, so I had to make a full cup’s worth even though I only needed 1/2 cup. Hot water breaks these cubes up faster–a minute or two in the microwave (with the cube in the water) can do wonders.

Brushing the foil-lined pan with the melted butter. Most of my sauce work and other dish components were already done or close to it–fish cooks fast and doesn’t do well sitting around waiting to be served.

Fish “stock”, ready to be mixed in with the vermouth.

I put on gloves to season and arrange the fish filets in the foil-lined, butter-brushed pan. Picture courtesy of my co-author.

None of the pieces were the same size, but they all still managed to fit in the pan.

Processed the pea mixture as directed (so green!) and added in the sour cream.

I have to admit: I don’t think I strained the sauce when transitioning from food processor to saucepan. If I did, I would have used my fine mesh strainer or a “china cap” if I had one. The food processor did a pretty good job of getting the sauce consistent, but a true fine dining entrée would have strained it.

The fish came out well–opaque and juicy, but not stiff or rubbery. I even intentionally undercooked it a tad because I knew it would cook a bit longer as it rested.

While the fish rested for a minute or two, I set up my plates. I try to at least reference the Simply Delicious card when I present the final dish, so I started with my sauce on the bottom.

Final plate. I omitted the peppers & other 80s-ish garnish suggestions and went with a more modern stacking method. They suggest serving with steamed rice–this is a “healthier” brown & wild rice microwave pilaf thing.

The fish was excellent, and the sauce wasn’t bad either. Steamed fish with a green pea and vermouth sauce just screams 1980s to me, but you can adapt it into a relatively nice fish & rice dinner with a retro-inspired sauce.

Grade: A-