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Brown Butter-Poached Halibut with Celeriac Purée

This is quite an elegant and sophisticated entrée, but not at all hard to make. The deliciously creamy celeriac purée can be made ahead of time, as can the parsley and caper-dotted crumb topping. The subtle nuttiness of browned butter is a fabulous compliment to the tender fish, and the addition of steamed spinach or kale round out this wonderful meat to perfection. 

Brown Butter-Poached Halibut with Celeriac Purée

10 tbs. butter
1 shallot, finely minced
1 bay leaf
4 peppercorns
2 thick halibut fillets
spinach or kale, to serve

For the purée:

1 tbs. butter
10½ oz. celeriac, peeled and cubed (generous 2 cups)
6 fl. oz. milk
3 fl. oz. heavy cream

For the crumbs:

1 tbs. butter
4 tbs. fresh bread crumbs
1 heaped tsp. capers, roughly chopped
1 tbs. parsley, roughly chopped

To make the purée, melt the butter in a saucepan and cook the celeriac over medium heat until starting to brown, about 5 minutes. Pour in the milk and cream, to cover the celeriac, and season. Bring to a simmer, cover and cook 15 minutes, or until tender. Drain, reserving the cooking liquid, and transfer to a food processor. Blend until smooth, adding the reserved liquid as needed to make a purée. Taste for seasoning and set aside.

To make the crumbs, heat the butter in a small skillet, add the bread crumbs and cook, stirring, until golden. Add the capers, cook 30 seconds more, then add the parsley and set aside.

Heat the oven to 400°F. Gently melt the butter in an oven-proof pan big enough to fit the halibut. Once melted, add the shallot, bay leaf, and peppercorns. Keep heating until the butter turns a light golden brown and smells nutty. Leave to cool a bit, then gently lower the fish into the warm butter, basting the tops. Transfer to the oven and cook 3-4 minutes, turn the fish over and cook 3-4 more minutes until cooked through. (The cooking time may vary depending on the thickness of the fish.)

Reheat the purée and steam the spinach or kale. To serve, spoon the puree into the center of the plate, top with the spinach or kale, then the fish, then the crumbs, then drizzle the pan juices over everything.

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