Poached Halibut with Prawns and Sandefjord Sauce

Sandefjord sauce is a classic Norwegian sauce made with cream and butter. I once came back from Norway with a bag of freshly cooked prawns, which I had bought straight from a boat moored in Trondheim harbour. Those and the Sandefjord sauce did wonders for a piece of halibut I cooked the next day.


  • 1–1½ lb / 455–680 g halibut steak
  • ½ lemon
  • salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 2–3 pt / 1.15–1.70 l fish stock


  • 2½ fl oz / 70 ml whipping cream
  • 4 oz / 110 g unsalted butter, chilled and diced
  • 2 tbsp chopped chives
  • 3 oz / 85 g peeled cooked prawns


Rub the piece of halibut with the cut lemon and lightly season. Put in a deep frying pan or roasting tin, cover with the stock, bring gently to simmering point and hold there for 3 minutes. Turn off the heat, cover the pan, and put on one side while you make the sauce. Bring the cream to the boil, and beat in the diced butter, a little at a time. Whisk the sauce until light and smooth and do not allow it to boil. Just before serving, stir in the chives and prawns. Carefully remove the halibut from the pan, and divide it by removing the skin and the central bone. This gives four even pieces. Serve with the sauce poured over.


Instead of the Sandefjord sauce, serve the fish with a mushroom and tarragon sauce. To make this, melt 1 oz / 30 g butter in a pan and fry 3 oz / 85 g sliced mushrooms in it. When the mushrooms are soft, stir in a few sprigs of finely chopped tarragon and ½ pt / 280 ml fish stock. Boil until reduced by half, and then add a little lemon juice and seasoning to taste.