Fish with Citrus Butter Sauce

We ran a dish for brunch a few months back: hal­ibut cheeks, sauce mal­taise and broc­coli. When we tast­ed this year’s Sil­hou­ette du Coeur, our minds nat­u­ral­ly went back to that. Sauce mal­taise is in the hol­landaise fam­i­ly tree; you take that base and work in blood orange zest and juice. Clas­si­cal­ly, it’s paired with aspara­gus but works well with oth­er green veg­eta­bles and seafood. We’re going to take those fla­vors and adapt them to brais­ing fish fillets.


Our Sil­hou­ette du Coeur has a rare com­bi­na­tion of round­ness on the palate and high acid­i­ty on the finish. It’s a delight to serve a glass alongside dish­es with a rich seafood base and its (very very slight) sweet­ness plays nice­ly with the blood orange and gin­ger fla­vors in the sauce.


  • 1 lb. mild fresh white fish fil­lets, shrimp or scal­lops
  • 1x sliced shal­lot (or 1/​4x sliced onion)
  • 1x gar­lic clove, light­ly smashed
  • 1x tiny piece of gin­ger, light­ly smashed
  • 1x blood orange split into: a few strips of zest, half juiced and half cut into seg­ments
  • 2t olive oil
  • 1 cup white wine
  • 14 cup qual­i­ty light chicken/​vegetable stock or clam juice
  • 4t but­ter
  • 1 head broc­coli, includ­ing stem peeled and cut into wedges
  • a cou­ple drops of fresh lemon juice

Pre­heat oven to 350F. Seafood ben­e­fits from being sea­soned 20 min­utes to an hour in advance to help release some of the glu­ta­mates (meatiness/​umami). Salt­ing in advance will also firm up the flesh a bit.

In an oven­proof pan, heat olive oil. Care­ful­ly place sea­soned seafood in pan and light­ly col­or both sides (about 30 sec­onds per side). Add gar­lic, gin­ger, wine, zest and water/​stock. Bring to a sim­mer and then trans­fer pan to oven. Fin­ish in oven until fish is cooked through to desired done­ness. (1” thick fish will be cooked through in about 10 min­utes — use this as your guide).

While your fish is fin­ish­ing, fill a pot (that has a lid) with water to cov­er the bot­tom. Sea­son water with salt and steam broc­coli to desired done­ness. When fin­ished, remove broc­coli from pot and reserve.

When ready, remove fish fil­lets from the oven and reserve. Place pan on stove­top at medi­um heat. Check for sea­son­ing of your broth, per­haps adding pinch of salt at this point. Add but­ter and orange juice and reduce until saucy con­sis­ten­cy (about 1 – 2 min). Add in orange seg­ments and fish fil­lets, toss­ing to coat. Check sea­son­ing. Plate and serve with the steamed broccoli.


This recipe is a basic pan sauce struc­ture. Pro­tein of your choice + aro­mat­ics + deglaz­ing the pan with liq­uid (wine, water or stock). This type of cook­ing pro­duces a meat/​fish and sauce rel­a­tive­ly quick­ly and can be end­less­ly adapt­ed. You can use stock/​juice to add more depth, fin­ish the sauce with some butter/​cream/​olive oil or add last-minute fla­vor­ings (mus­tard, herbs, capers, cit­rus are a few that come to mind). It also works great with chick­en thighs, pork cut­lets, minute steaks….. choose your own adventure.

To achieve more of a ​hol­landaise” con­sis­ten­cy and fla­vor, sep­a­rate 1x egg yolk and reserve. Once fish comes out of oven and is reserved from pan, place yolk in a cof­fee mug or oth­er small ves­sel. Spoon in a cou­ple ounces of hot sauce and beat with a whisk/​fork to accli­ma­tize the yolk with­out cook­ing it. Once homoge­nous, pour back into rest of sauce, stir to mix and fin­ish like above — keep­ing heat at a sim­mer and stir­ring con­tin­u­ous­ly. Here, we’re using the yolk to thick­en the sauce ver­sus reduc­tion (above).