Halibut Poached in Duck Fat

Do you like mild fish? Then this recipe is right up your alley. It is packed with flavor thanks to its duck friend and SUPER simple to make, albeit a little pricy.

But first, a quick reminder I’m not a food blogger. There will be no flour-dusted cutting board photos in-between hefty paragraphs filled with adjectives. The word foodie sends an awful noise of nails on a chalkboard down my spine.

I only want to share the recipe and what I learned when baking or cooking it for the first time. The act of making food for others is how I show love, and it’s my fun time. Trying to make something for the first time is always exciting for me because you either nail it or you don’t.

Today’s Taste Test recipe is from Anthony Bourdain’s Appetites cookbook. Here we go!


1 lemon

1 tablespoon canola or other neutral oil

1 tablespoon fennel seeds

Seeds from 2 cardamom pods

1 bay leaf

4 garlic cloves, peeled and sliced

2 halibut fillets (about 12 ounces each; ask your fishmonger to remove the white belly skin but to leave the dark dorsal skin attached)

Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

1 quart rendered duck fat (available at various
gourmet retailers and some butcher shops)

Serve with mashed potatoes

  1. ⁣Using the microplane grater, finely grate the lemon zest into a small mixing bowl and add the oil, fennel and cardamom seeds, bay leaf, and garlic, mixing well. Rub the fish on all sides with the mixture and refrigerate in a casserole or zip-sealed plastic bag for at least 2 hours and up to 24. 
  2. Remove the fish from the refrigerator about 15 minutes before you’re ready to poach it. Brush off the excess garlic and seeds. Season it on all sides with salt and pepper.
  3. In a large, heavy-bottom pot, heat the duck fat over medium heat until it reaches 150°F, monitoring the temperature with the instant-read thermometer. Slip the fish into the pot and ladle the fat over so it is submerged. Let cook for 5 minutes, then remove from the heat, cover, and let sit for 10 to 15 minutes, until the fish has an internal temperature of 150°F. 
  4. Carefully remove the fish from the pot with a slotted
    spoon or fish spatula, adjust seasoning if necessary, and serve with mashed potatoes.
  5. Serves 4


  1. The temperature of the duck fat is VERY important. Pay attention and monitor it.
  2. It took a little longer for me to poach the fish because the halibut wasn’t submerged completely in the fat, if I were to make it next time I would make sure it’s better covered.
  3. Tons of flavor. The best tasting halibut I’ve ever tasted.


No. I love Bourdain but there are plenty of other fish in the sea I’d rather eat. I’d say making it once to impress and check it off your list. Unless you don’t like strong tasting fish than this might be the next best thing since sliced bread!

If you make them this weekend, share your pictures in the comments or tag me in your post if you share on Instagram @sjrandol.

Anthony Bourdain quote for halibut poached in duck fat