Braised Pacific Halibut with Mushrooms and Leeks

Braised Halibut with Mushrooms and Leeks

While my dear, sweet husband would prefer to remain anonymous on these here pages of “La Pomme” or at least, keep to the role of an extra…an extra, as in, one of the 70,000 in the stands of the filming of a great sports film…I do feel that there is something you should know about him. He is a man who knows what he likes. And, once he’s locked on to that…tea brand, yogurt and granola pairing, holiday cookie from Trader Joe’s…there is no deviating. Now, this is a good thing, especially if you’re me. He’s locked on to me and I don’t have to worry. However, because of his highly “distinguished palate,” preparing a meal for my guy can sometimes be…challenging. So, when his hunting and gathering takes him out of town, my mind starts racing and I immediately start thinking about all of the dishes I can prepare in his absence especially those involving mushrooms…for those fungi have never made my sweetie’s “like list.”

So, after a flurry of chopping and slicing and simmering and scooping and my man far, far away, I laid before my three children bowls of braised halibut with mushrooms and leeks for dinner. My anticipation of enjoying this fine meal could barely be contained. I sat down with excitement twinkling in my eyes. But, while the presentation was beautiful and the children dutifully ate their meal, somehow it was anti-climatic. There we sit. Just me and the three kids. Eating our meal. And then, sure enough, the 10-year old someone farts and it’s all down hill from there. Somehow it seemed silly to have gone the extra effort for my off-spring when, honestly, they would have been just as happy with Costco chicken nuggets, frozen peas and applesauce.

I cleaned up the meal and headed up for the bedtime routine. Glancing at the chair in my daughter’s room, I sighed. There would be no lounging in that chair, eavesdropping on my man and the littlest one through the wall as they “rehearsed” their rendition of “Up On the Rooftop” for the Preschool Holiday Program. The silence from the downstairs was almost haunting. No Sportscenter. No hollering from my sweetie to the 10-year old to “Get down here and check out this play.” And, once I had the boys down and was scooping up the trail of legos left by the mysterious and elusive “Lego Poopin’ Rabbit” that apparently inhabits our house, I glanced downstairs expecting to see my daughter snuggled up next to her Daddy watching their favorite show. But, no. They weren’t there. So, although I was able to eat my mushrooms tonight which were quite tasty, somehow the pleasure was lessened by the absence of the one who matters most which gives rise to the question, “Is food really more pleasurable when it’s shared?” Perhaps there is some truth to that.

winter berries
Oh, gads. Look what I’ve done. I’ve gone and talked about my main squeeze. The guy who wants to keep his contributions to our lives anonymous. We’ll just keep this a little secret between you and me. Shhh. Maybe he won’t read this and then, he’ll never know. Deal?
Braised Halibut with Mushrooms and Leeks
Course: Dinner
Serves: 5 servings
For years, I didn't cook fish, I only ordered it in restaurants. The whole process intimidated me. Now, the older, wiser me can't be stopped. We eat a lot of fish. Don't be put off by the fancy title of this recipe. It is so quick that it is worthy of weeknight status especially if you buy the mushrooms that have already been sliced. And, while the recipe calls for halibut sometimes I just can't stomach the price. Instead, I make this dish with petrale sole, Pacific snapper/rockrish, or Pacific cod.
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • ½ pound, white button mushrooms, thinly sliced, about 3 cups
  • 2 large leeks, white and light-green parts only, thinly sliced, about 3 cups
  • ½ teaspoon salt, plus more
  • ⅛ teaspoon black pepper, plus more
  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • ½ cup of dry white wine
  • 5 skinless Pacific halibut fillets, about 4 ounces each
  • 1 tablespoon flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped
  1. Melt the butter and heat the oil over medium heat in a deep, straight sided sauté pan with a lid. Add the mushrooms , leeks, ½ teaspoon salt and ⅛ teaspoon pepper. Cook until, about 7 to 8 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the broth and wine, bring to a boil, then lower heat and simmer 3-4 minutes.
  2. Season both sides of your halibut with salt and pepper. Nestle the fish among the mushrooms and leeks in the sauté pan. Bring the broth back to a boil, cover tightly, and reduce the heat to low. Cook until the fish is just cooked through, about 7 minutes. If using a less meaty fish, check for doneness after 4 minutes.
  3. Serve the fish in shallow soup bowls, surrounded by the mushrooms, leeks and broth. Garnish with chopped parsley. Enjoy.


  1. Hopp Family of 4 says:

    Your secret is safe with me . . .

  2. Mark and Kim Majors says:

    As I read this recipe, in anticipation for tomorrow's dinner, I cried upon reading that it was less pleasurable without the one who matters most. I am planning an "All La Pomme de Portland" dinner party with some dear, old friends and hope that the wonderful friendships and your recipes will overcompensate for my juvenile cooking abilities. (Farting to be possibly included in the meal… one never knows around here!)


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