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Hector Laguna’s Olive Oil Poached Halibut

Hector Laguna's Olive Oil Poached Halibut


We’re proud to live this side of the world where you’re able to find everything close by – from seafood to dairy, to the vegetables we use for this dish.

We started making our own butter and getting the buttermilk from it. We also cultivate the butter, which adds a bit of funkiness in a good way. Dairy is so versatile. I love how many dishes you can use it for – it can be dessert, it can be savoury, you can do so many things. – Hector Laguna, Botanist, Vancouver


  • 1 lb honey mussels
  • 20 g sliced shallots
  • 10 g sliced garlic
  • 2 g chili flakes
  • 200 g white wine
  • 80 g crème fraiche (or sour cream)
  • A splash of canola oil


  • 300 g buttermilk
  • Mussels cooking liquid
  • 100 g butter


  • 4 pieces of halibut (5 oz each)
  • 1 L water
  • 40 g salt
  • Poaching Oil* (1L olive oil, 20g lemon peels, 20g toasted coriander seed, and 3 sprigs of thyme. Combine and let sit overnight at room temperature.)


  • 2 stalks of celery, finely sliced
  • 3 pieces of swiss chard julienne (separate the stems from the leaves)
  • 50 g of clean chanterelles mushrooms
  • Olive oil as needed
  • The juice of 1 lemon
  • 100 g vegetarian stock
  • 3 tbsp of butter
  • Chili oil
  • Diced tomatoes
  • Chili Oil

METHODServing Suggestion: 4 people

For the Mussels: Put canola oil into medium size pan and add shallots and garlic. Cook it until tender. Add white wine and chili flakes and bring to boil. Add mussels and cover until they open. Remove mussels from pot. Reserve. Bring pot back to burner and bring back to boil. Reduce heat to medium. Add crème fraiche and cook for 5 minutes. Strain and reserve.

For the Buttermilk Sauce: Place buttermilk in a pot and bring to a simmer until it splits. Hang it through cheese cloth and discharge half of the whey. Transfer the rest to blender along with buttermilk and blend it back together. Transfer buttermilk back to pot. Add mussels cooking liquid and bring to a boil. Wisk in butter and let simmer for 10 minutes. Season with salt, strain and reserve.

For the Halibut: Mix water and salt in container and stir until salt has dissolved. Add fish and let brine for 45 minutes in the fridge. Remove fish from water and pat dry. Reserve.

For the Garnishes: Heat olive oil in pan on medium heat and add mushrooms. Sauté until slightly colourful. Add celery and swiss chard stems and cook for 1 minute. Add vegetarian stock and bring to a boil. Add butter and allow it to melt. Add swiss chard leaves and mussels. Season with salt and lemon juice. Reserve.

Assembly: Place poaching oil into pot and bring to about 65F. Place fish in and cook for about 12 to 15 minutes. While fish is cooking, split vegetable into 4 bowls and add in chili oil to taste. Pour buttermilk sauce over vegetables. Once fish is cooked, place in the bowl, put mussels around and sprinkle tomatoes over top.

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