Halibut Femme de Guerre

I seem to remember saying that, if my dinner party the other week went off alright, I’d share the menu with you.  Lady Somerset is a Pescetarian (which I thought was a former Soviet state) and she is also a little prone to anaemia.  So.  The menu was:-

Watercress soup with crème fraiche
Elderflower sorbet with mixed fruit sauce (as an amuse bouche)
Halibut Femme de Guerre
Tarte Tatin and Bread and Butter Pudding with custard
English Cheese*, biscuits and fruit

(* with a lump de Roquefort because the French market had come to town and we couldn’t resist it)

Because I am usually hosting dinner parties by myself, I tend to plan them with military precision but Lady Somerset was having none of it.  She made me go into town in the morning and look at things and sit in coffee shops and stare at frocks, while I tried very hard not to chew my own limbs off in my anxiety to get home and start the preparations.  The upside of this was that we went to the fish shop to see what they had and then decided what to make on the strength of it.  I’m more than happy to do this for normal meals but it felt a bit scary when we was ‘avin’ compny.  We came up with this, to serve 6 and it was fab.


Chopping board
1 x large frying pan or Paella pan
1 x large pan
A method of warming plates – important

6oz / 180g butter
1 medium onion – finely chopped
6fl oz / 175ml vegetable stock
6 fillets of halibut – skin on
2 bags of fresh spinach – any large stalks removed
1 tspn lemon juice
2 tblspn Marsala
1 tspn fresh chopped thyme
1 tspn fresh chopped parsley
36 medium or 24 large prawns

Melt 1oz/30g of the butter in the frying pan, add the onion and cook until soft
Add the stock to the pan and bring to a simmer
Place the halibut into the pan, skin side up and simmer very gently for about 4 minutes
Add the prawns and cook for a further 2 minutes
Cover the pan and set aside, keeping it warm
Melt another 1oz / 30g of the butter in the large pan
Add the spinach and turn up the heat, stirring continually until it is just softening
Divide the spinach between six plates, shaping it into a nice square or oblong
Remove the skin from the fish and place one fillet on the top of each square of spinach
Remove the prawns from the frying pan and put it back on the heat
Add the remaining butter and boil rapidly until the liquid has reduced and is starting to look like a sauce
Add the lemon, Marsala and the herbs and boil for another 30 seconds or so
Add the prawns and just stir them around a bit until they are warmed through
Arrange the prawns nicely around the fish
Pour over the butter sauce, making sure it looks attractive on the plate and serve

I also served new Anya potatoes, julienne carrots and broccoli



Filed under Entertaining, Food, Nutrition & Sensible Eating, Recipes

9 responses to “Halibut Femme de Guerre

  1. I thought it was one of those non-conformist denominations – your blog is an invaluable education as ever…

  2. Affer

    Cod Rocker Box Cover is quite good. As you leave town, you put the fish in a foil wrapper on top of the engine – and eh voila (if in a Peugeot, or da ist es if you have a VW), the fish is nicely cooked and ready to eat.

    • wartimehousewife

      Does that actually work Affer? And how far do you have to drive?

      Perhaps you should do a series of recipes on your site designed for cooking on the engine. Under ‘Method’ it would read “Place the foil wrapped package on the engine and drive for 25 miles at 50cc or 12 miles at 100cc. Stop at the Watford Gap Services, season liberally and continue to Northampton at a steady 90mph.

  3. Augusta Lever-Arche

    Am going to do battle with ‘Bass de Mer au Femme de Guerre’ this weekend – as there was an offer on the fisho profondo. Will let you know how it goes. Will send you a photo if I win!

  4. Augusta Lever-Arche

    Didn’t photograph this roaring success as was too concerned with it being eaten while hot! Son the Elder didn’t even notice the onions in the sauce and ate the lot. Fish de la Femme de Guerre will, I am sure, become a family favourite.

  5. Jo Halford

    Just settling down to watch The Return of Martin de Guerre!

  6. Pingback: Thou shalt have a fishy « Wartime Housewife

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