Roasted Halibut Cheeks Wrapped in Pancetta with Cider and Brown Butter

posted: 06/30/10
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Roasted Halibut Cheeks Wrapped in Pancetta with Cider and Brown Butter

Take Home Chef, Episode 94: Holly's Menu


  • 1 1/4 cups/300 ml apple cider
  • 12 halibut cheeks (about 1 1/2 pounds/700 g total)
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 12 slices of pancetta
  • 2 teaspoons/10 ml plus 2 tablespoons/30 ml extra virgin olive oil, divided
  • 7 tablespoons/100 g butter
  • 1 large Granny Smith apple, peeled, cored and finely diced
  • 1 pound red Swiss chard, stems trimmed, leaves cut in half lengthwise



  1. Place the apple cider in a heavy, small saucepan and simmer over a moderate high heat for 12 minutes or until the cider reduces to 1/2 cup/120 ml. Remove the pan from the heat, then cover the pan and set the apple cider reduction aside.
  2. Meanwhile, sprinkle the halibut cheeks with salt and pepper. Wrap 1 slice of pancetta around the center of each halibut cheek, allowing the pancetta to overlap just slightly. Trim away any excess pancetta, if necessary.
  3. Place a large, heavy based saut? pan over a moderate to high heat. Once the pan is hot, drizzle 2 teaspoons/10 ml of olive oil over the pan. Place half of the pancetta-wrapped halibut cheeks in the hot pan, being careful not to overcrowd the pan.
  4. Cook the halibut cheeks for 1 1/2 to 2 minutes on each side or until they are golden brown on the outside and the fish is just cooked through but still moist and tender. Transfer the cheeks to a warm plate and tent with foil to keep them warm.
  5. Pour off the excess oil from the pan. Return the pan to the heat. Add the butter to the pan and cook for about 2 minutes or until it turns light golden brown, stirring as needed.
  6. Remove the pan from the heat and slowly whisk in the apple cider reduction, being cautious since the mixture will simmer vigorously at first. Add the diced apples and simmer for 2 minutes or just until the apples are heated through. Season the sauce to taste with salt and pepper.


  1. Heat the remaining 2 tablespoons/30 ml of olive oil in a large frying pan over moderate heat. Add the Swiss chard and sprinkle with salt and freshly ground black pepper. The pan will be full, but the chard will cook down considerably. Saut? for approximately 8 minutes or until the chard wilts and becomes tender.


  1. Mound the chard in the center of 4 serving plates, dividing equally. Place 3 halibut cheeks per plate around the chard. Spoon the cider sauce and apples over the halibut cheeks and drizzle the excess sauce around the halibut cheeks. Serve immediately.
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