Pan-Seared Halibut with Caramelized Cauliflower & Hazelnuts

The following recipe is from the September 17 edition of our weekly recipe newsletter. To receive this newsletter in your inbox, sign up here!

While thumbing through the pages of Laurent Tourondel's Fresh from the Market I was looking for recipes that were an easy transition into fall. Not necessarily the hearty, rib-sticking dishes that we crave in cold weather, but ones that incorporated fall flavors while still holding on to the lightness that we crave when the weather is warm. Pan-Seared Halibut with Caramelized Cauliflower & Hazelnuts is one of those ideal in-between-seasons meals.

Brussels sprouts and cauliflower have cool weather written all over them, but a simply seared fillet of halibut retains a light freshness, and the earthy, rich Hazelnut Cream ties the dish together. I'll admit that the recipe is a bit complex, but not all of the subrecipes are necessary to make a satisfying meal. The halibut served with the Brussels sprouts would be wonderful on its own, and the same goes for the Caramelized Cauliflower Cream or even the Hazelnut Cream. Together all of the elements are wonderful, but I can easily imagine making those sprouts or the cauliflower purée as part of a winter meal, substituting roast pork for the halibut.

Recipe Facts



Total: 0 mins
Serves: 6 servings

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  • For the Hazelnut Cream:
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup hazelnuts, skins removed and roughly chopped
  • 3/4 cup fish stock
  • 3/4 cup heavy cream
  • For the Caramelized Cauliflower Cream:
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/2 pound cauliflower, sliced 1/2-inch thick
  • 3/4 cup heavy cream
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • For the Brussels Sprouts:
  • 3/4 pound medium Brussels sprouts, trimmed and halved
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup hazelnuts, roughly chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon finely chopped garlic
  • 4 fresh sage leaves, thinly sliced
  • For the Halibut:
  • 6 skinless halibut fillets, 6 ounces each
  • 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil


  1. Make the Hazelnut Cream: Melt the butter in a small saucepan over low heat. Add the hazelnuts and toast them until golden brown, stirring occasionally to keep them from burning, about 3 minutes. Add the fish stock and heavy cream and simmer for 5 minutes.

    Transfer to a blender or a food processor fitted with a metal blade and purée until smooth.

  2. Make the Cauliflower Cream: Melt the butter in a large sauté pan over medium-high heat. Add the sliced cauliflower and cook until the slices are golden brown, about 2 minutes per side. Add the heavy cream and simmer until the cream has been reduced by half, about 2 minutes. Purée the cauliflower mixture in a blender until smooth. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

  3. Cook the Brussels Sprouts: Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the Brussels sprouts and cook until tender when pierced with a knife, about 5 minutes. Immediately transfer the sprouts to a bowl of ice water. Once cool, drain the sprouts.

    Melt the butter in a large sauté pan over medium-high heat until foamy. Add the hazelnuts and sauté until they just begin to color, about 2 minutes. Add the Brussels sprouts and continue cooking until the sprouts and hazelnuts are browned, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and sage and cook until the garlic and sage soften, about 1 minute. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

  4. Sauté the halibut: Season the halibut with salt and pepper. Heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil in a large sauté pan over medium-high heat.

    Place 3 halibut fillets in the pan and cook until the fish begins to turn opaque, about 3 minutes. Turn the fish over and cook until the flesh is opaque and begins to flake, about another 3 minutes. The thickness of the fish will determine the cooking time. Remove the fish from the pan and cover it with foil to keep warm. Repeat with the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil and 3 halibut fillets.

  5. To serve: Place a spoonful of cauliflower cream in the center of 6 plates. Top the cauliflower cream with the halibut, spoon the hazelnut cream on top of the fish, and scatter the Brussels sprouts around the fish. Serve immediately.