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Halibut in a Pouch with Leeks and Tomatoes

September 2, 2016
Photo Credit: Margot Foster

This dish is great for company, because you can assemble the foil packets ahead, chill and then pop them in the oven or on the grill when you’re ready. Using a shallow bowl to help form the packets prevents leaks and helps the fish poach evenly, resulting in delicious juices. Feel free to substitute any firm white fish, such as cod or sea bass or even salmon, as long as it’s not too thick.

Halibut in a Pouch with Leeks and Tomatoes




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Extra-virgin olive oil

3 slender leeks: trimmed, rinsed well and thinly sliced (about 3 cups)

1½ cups ripe grape tomatoes, halved lengthwise, or 2 medium tomatoes, trimmed and diced

Four 6-ounce portions halibut fillet, 2/3 inch thick

2 tablespoons coarsely chopped fresh tarragon leaves

½ cup dry white wine

Grassfed butter

Sea salt and freshly ground pepper


Tear off four 12-inch long sheets of heavy-duty (long) foil. Press about half of 1 sheet into a shallow soup or pasta bowl to make a “bowl” out of the foil, leaving half of the sheet hanging over the side for folding over to make a pouch.

Drizzle in a couple of teaspoons of oil. Add a handful of leek slices and tomato halves, a pinch of tarragon and then a fish fillet. Pour in 2 tablespoons wine, add a 1-tablepoon pat of butter, another pinch of tarragon, and season well with salt and pepper. Fold the excess foil over top and crimp the edges together to enclose the fish and vegetables. Repeat with the remaining ingredients, saving about 1 tablespoon of tarragon for serving time. Place the pouches in a single layer on a large baking sheet. (You can prepare up to 4 hours ahead. Refrigerate until ready to cook.)

Preheat the oven or a gas grill to 400°F. Place the sheet with the pouches in the oven or on the grill and cover and cook for 25 minutes.

Unwrap one of the pouches, taking care to keep the juices from escaping. Using a spatula, transfer the fish to a shallow bowl or plate. Spoon the leek and tomato on top, pour on the juices from the foil, and sprinkle with some more fresh tarragon. Repeat with remaining fish portions.

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