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Poached halibut in a buttery dill sauce

30 August 2016

Zuza Zak shares her recipe for poached halibut in a buttery dill sauce from her new book Polska: New Polish Cooking.

Poached halibut in a buttery dill sauce
Poached halibut in a buttery dill sauce

Cooking time

20 minutes




  • 200 ml (7 fl oz/scant 1 cup) Cava or Prosecco
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 sprig of rosemary few celery leaves
  • Few black peppercorns
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 2 x halibut fillets, about 150–180g (5–61/3 oz) each
  • 2 tablespoons salted butter handful of finely chopped dill
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • Salt and white pepper, to taste


I always think of halibut as the princess of the fish world, which is why I poach it in Cava. This sauce is a fail-safe; it is ideal for uninspired days as it’s very simple and works well with all white fish. If you have white fish in your fridge or freezer and just a few basic ingredients then you can create a winning dish in hardly any time at all. I prefer using delicate white pepper in this recipe, but you may prefer freshly ground black pepper to finish this dish off, or perhaps a bit of both, I leave that choice entirely up to you.

Put the Cava in a pan along with the bay leaf, rosemary, celery leaves, peppercorns, lemon zest and a bit of salt and place over a medium-high heat.

Once your poaching liquid is scalding hot (but not boiling), lower in the halibut fillets, reduce the heat and allow to poach over a very low heat for 5–7 minutes. The liquid should nearly cover the fillets.

Meanwhile, make the dill sauce: melt the butter in a pan over a medium heat and add the dill (fresh or frozen works equally well here), lemon juice and season with salt and white pepper.

Remove the halibut fillets from the Cava just as carefully as when you first slid them in and place them in the frying pan with the sauce. Spoon the sauce over the top of the fish and serve with green beans.

Polska by Zuza Zak
(Quadrille, £ 25)
Photography by Laura Edwards


The opinions expressed are those of the author and are not held by Saga unless specifically stated. The material is for general information only and does not constitute investment, tax, legal, medical or other form of advice. You should not rely on this information to make (or refrain from making) any decisions. Always obtain independent, professional advice for your own particular situation.