• Halibut with Brown Butter, Lemon & Aged Fish Sauce


Inspired by Chef Ed Lee

By Andrew Zimmern

I take any excuse I can find to make Louisville chef Ed Lee’s frog legs in fish sauce. I had the opportunity once to stand next to him while he made the dish and I was hooked right away. One day, however, I found myself without frog legs. Shocking, but true. Turns out, the warm, toothy texture of cooked halibut is a perfect substitute in Ed’s dish, so I started playing around and came up with this take on a modern-Asian by way of Kentucky frog dish. You almost never get to say that, do you? I serve this with plenty of rice and a side of grilled miso-glazed eggplant.

Halibut with Brown Butter, Lemon & Aged Fish Sauce

Servings: 4

Total: 1 hour


  • 1/4 cup wheat berries
  • 1 stick salted butter
  • 3 tablespoons grapeseed or canola oil
  • Four 6-ounce skinless halibut fillets
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • 3 celery ribs, thinly sliced
  • 1 bunch of scallions, minced (1 cup)
  • 1 dried hot chile, such as árbol
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 3 tablespoons Blis Barrel-Aged Fish Sauce or Red Boat conventional fish sauce
  • Steamed white rice, for serving


In a small saucepan of boiling water, cook the wheat berries until tender, 20 to 40 minutes. Drain and spread out on a plate to cool.

In a small skillet, toast the wheat berries until golden and crunchy, 7 to 8 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a small saucepan, melt the butter. Cook over moderate heat until golden brown and nutty-smelling, 5 to 7 minutes.

In a large nonstick skillet, heat the oil until shimmering. Season the halibut with salt and pepper and cook over moderately high heat until browned on both sides and just cooked through, 3 to 4 minutes per side. Transfer to a plate. Add the celery, scallions and dried chile to the skillet and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add the brown butter, lime juice and fish sauce and cook until the sauce is slightly thickened, about 2 minutes. Add the fish and turn to coat in the sauce. Discard the dried chile. Transfer the fish and sauce to a platter and garnish with some of the toasted wheat berries. Serve with rice.

Originally published in Andrew Zimmern’s Kitchen Adventures on foodandwine.com.
Photograph by Kate N.G. Sommers.

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