Halibut and Spinach Wrapped in Phyllo Pastry

This is one of my favourite recipes from my first book: Everyone Can Cook. Cooking fish in phyllo keeps it nice and moist, even if slightly overcooked.

Preparation time: 30 minutes

Cooking time: 15-20 minutes

Makes: 2 servings


For the fish:

4 Tbsp. (60 mL) melted butter            

1 shallot, minced

1 garlic clove, minced

1 (300 g pkg.) chopped frozen spinach, thawed and squeezed of its moisture           

4 sheets phyllo pastry            

2 (6 oz./170 g) halibut fillets            

Salt and white pepper to taste


For the sauce:

1 Tbsp.  (15 mL) butter

1 shallot, minced

2 Tbsp (30 mL) lemon juice            

3/4 cup (175 mL) whipping cream            

2 Tbsp. (30 mL) capers            

1 Tbsp. (15 mL) snipped fresh chives            

Salt and white pepper to taste


Heat 1 Tbsp. (15 mL) of the butter for the fish in a small skillet set over medium heat. Add shallots and garlic and cook until softened. Add the spinach, season with salt and pepper, and then remove from heat and reserve. Preheat oven to 425°F (220°C).

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Set a sheet of phyllo on a work surface and lightly butter it. Top with another sheet of phyllo and butter it. Repeat with remaining phyllo. Cut the four layered sheets, widthwise, in half. Set a piece of halibut near the bottom end of each half piece of phyllo. Season with salt and pepper. Divide and place the spinach mixture on top of the fish. Fold the sides of the phyllo slightly over the fish and then roll into a cylinder. Set the fish on the baking sheet and brush the tops with little butter. Bake in the middle of the oven 20 minutes, until golden and cooked through.

While the fish cooks, make the sauce. Melt the butter in a pot set over medium heat. Add shallots and cook until softened. Add lemon juice and reduce until it has almost evaporated. Pour in the cream and reduce until it lightly thickens. Add the capers and chives; season with salt and pepper. 

Pour a pool of sauce on two dinner plates. Cut each piece of halibut in 2 at a slight angle. Artfully arrange on the plates and serve.

Eric's options: Other fish, such as salmon or cod, could replace the halibut in this recipe.