Eric Ripert’s Halibut-Mushroom Casserole

An elegant halibut dish fit for a restaurant but so easy to make at home.
An elegant halibut dish fit for a restaurant but so easy to make at home.

If there was ever anyone qualified to write a masterful cookbook on seafood, it is Eric Ripert.

After all, the renowned chef is co-owner of Le Bernardin in New York City, the absolute mecca of seafood that holds three Michelin stars and has held four stars from the New York Times for more than three decades.

What’s incredibly refreshing about his “Seafood Simple” (Random House, 2023), of which I received a review copy, is how easy and doable these recipes are.

These recipes are absolutely made for the home cook, with many of them calling for little more than a handful of ingredients and only one page of instruction. Try your hand at “Tuna Carpaccio with Ginger-Lime Mayonnaise” (made with store-bought mayo and ginger juice that only requires grating it, then squeezing out the juice); “Salmon Wrapped in Collard Greens with Beurre Rouge” (a sauce that’s simply red wine reduced, then swirled with butter); “Fish Fingers” (a favorite of his son’s that is breaded in panko and served with ketchup); and “Shrimp Skewers with Green Curry Sauce” (with the shrimp skewered with pineapple chunks and grilled).

There’s also expert advice, as well as detailed photos, on how to skin a fish, clean shrimp, split a lobster, shuck an oyster, and remove pin bones from salmon.

“Halibut-Mushroom Casserole” illustrates how a simple technique can add so much. The halibut is gently cooked in and served with a mushroom stock you make by just simmering button mushrooms in water for a good long time to extract their flavor.

The stock and mushrooms are strained through a fine-mesh sieve. Ripert doesn’t mention what to do with those spent mushrooms. Granted, they may not have a lot of remaining flavor (after all, that’s now in the resulting stock), but they still have plenty of heft and fiber. Save them to add to soup, pasta sauce or a breakfast scramble, if you like.

The recipe is easily halved, too, if you prefer to only serve 2.
The recipe is easily halved, too, if you prefer to only serve 2.

More mushrooms of your choice get sauteed in butter. (I used tree oyster mushrooms.) The mushroom stock gets added, and reduced. Then, all of that gets poured into a baking pan. The halibut fillets get arranged on top with a thyme sprig crowning each one. The fish bakes in the oven, then is divided among bowls along with some of the broth and mushrooms.

Dig in to discover a surprisingly pure and deep mushroom flavor, and the fish cooked perfectly moist and flaky. Because the lean halibut cooks in broth gently in the oven, it’s almost impossible to overcook. The dish is earthy, comforting, and a joy to tuck into.

A masterfully easy dish from a master seafood chef.
A masterfully easy dish from a master seafood chef.

Halibut-Mushroom Casserole

(Serves 4)

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

1 tablespoon canola oil

1 pound assorted mushrooms, cut into bite-sized pieces

1/2 shallot, thinly sliced

Fine sea salt and freshly ground white pepper

2 cups Mushroom Stock (recipe below)

4 halibut fillets (7 ounces each), skinned

4 sprigs thyme

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

In a large saucepan, heat the butter and oil over medium heat. Add the mushrooms and shallot, season with sea salt and white pepper, and cook until mushrooms are starting to soften, 4 to 5 minutes. Add the mushroom stock, bring to a simmer, and cook until the liquid is reduced to about 1 1/2 cups, 6 to 8 minutes.

Season the halibut on all sides with sea salt and white pepper. Transfer the mushrooms and cooking liquid to a large baking dish and set the halibut on top. Place a thyme sprig on each fillet.

Cover the baking dish, place in the oven, and bake until a metal skewer inserted into the thickest part of the fish for 5 seconds feels warm when touched to your wrist, 11 to 12 minutes.

To serve, place a fillet in the center of each of four warm bowls. Gently spoon the mushrooms and sauce around the fish and serve immediately.

Mushroom Stock

(Makes 2 cups)

3 pounds white mushrooms

Clean the mushrooms and place in a stockpot with 6 cups water.

Bring to a boil, then reduce to low heat and simmer, uncovered, until the liquid is reduced to 2 cups, about 1 hour.

Strain through a fine-mesh sieve, pressing the mushrooms to extract the liquid. Save cooked mushrooms for another use, if you like. Refrigerate stock n an airtight container for up to 1 week or freeze for up to 2 months.

Adapted from “Seafood Simple” by Eric Ripert

A Q&A with Eric Ripert: Take Five with Chef Eric Ripert

More Recipes to Enjoy from Eric Ripert: Soy-Glazed Red Cabbage

And: Sauteed Shiitake Mushrooms with Sage

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  • If you were only going to buy one seafood cookbook it should be one by Eric Ripert, he has to be one of the most knowledgeable chefs.

  • Hi Karen: He is the seafood master. And I love how this book by a Michelin three-starred chef no less has such simple recipes. What a refreshing find.

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