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Chef Jon Ashton's Halibut recipe

This Week’s Menu Features a Dish that Will Delight Fishermen and Foodies Alike

The chefs aboard Crystal ships routinely outdo themselves for evening menus in Waterside. Among their specialties is an ocean of creative ways to present the flavors of the sea, from seared Ahi Tuna or scallops to a hundred ways to prepare lobster. Besides being one of the most naturally spectacular regions in the world, the Pacific Northwest is home to a thriving fishing and crabbing culture, literally feeding its tourism and local appeal and making mouths water from ship to shore. One of the tastiest resident catches of the region is halibut, which can be found on the west coast of Vancouver Island, British Columbia, all the way up along the Alaskan coast.

This week, Chef Jon Ashton’s halibut recipe is on the menu as we imagine ourselves sailing through the passages and inlets of Vancouver, Ketchikan, Juneau and other hubs of the Pacific Northwest, dining on our favorite seafood in Waterside. The only way to top halibut’s mildly sweet, buttery, flaky flavors is to literally top it, in this case, with the rich creaminess of jumbo lump crab meat and a shrimp puree, finished with a rich champagne butter sauce that takes the decadence to the next level. For as elevated as the finished product is, the shopping list for this week’s entrée is relatively short and simple, allowing the natural taste of the fish come through.

Check the halibut recipe below, gather your ingredients and join us for Sunday Cooking with Chef Jon this Sunday, December 6 on the Crystal Cruises Facebook page. We’ll see you in the kitchen.

Halibut with Crab Topping
By Chef Jon Ashton 


1 pound (454 grams) jumbo lump crab meat 
1 cup (240 ml) milk
2 tablespoons (30 ml) unsalted butter
2 celery ribs, finely chopped
1/2 cup chopped onion
Salt and pepper
4 ounces (113 grams) shrimp, peeled, de-veined and tails removed
1/4 cup (60 ml) heavy cream
2 teaspoons (10 ml) Dijon mustard
6 (4-6 oz. each) (113-170 grams each) Halibut fillets, skin removed 
2 cups (200 grams) Panko breadcrumbs, toasted


Place the crab meat and milk in medium sized bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium heat.  Add celery and onion, pinch of salt, and a little pepper; cook, stirring frequently, until vegetables are softened (about 5-7 minutes).

Remove skillet from the heat.  Put the celery mixture in a large bowl and let cool to room temperature. 

Strain crab meat through a fine-mesh strainer, pressing gently to remove milk.  Please be careful not to break up the big lumps of crab meat. 

Place the shrimp in food processor and blend until finely ground, using a spatula to scrape down bowl as needed. Add the heavy cream and pulse to combine.

Transfer the shrimp puree to the bowl with the cooled vegetables. Add the mustard and stir until well combined. Add the strained crab meat and fold gently with rubber spatula, being careful not to over mix and break up lumps of crab meat. Divide the mixture into 6 portions and evenly press onto each fillet. Top the crab mixture with Panko and spray each topped fillet with a little cooking spray or brush with melted butter.

Place on a greased, rimmed baking sheet lined with foil and cook for 20-25 minutes (please use thermometer, fish should be cooked to 130°F to 135°F). 

Serves 6. 

Champagne Butter Sauce
By Chef Jon Ashton 

1/3 cup (80 ml) dry white wine
1/4 cup (60 ml) Champagne or white-wine vinegar
2 tablespoons (18 grams) finely chopped shallots
1/3 cup (80 ml) heavy cream
Salt and white pepper (to taste)
2 sticks (1 cup/230 grams) unsalted butter, cut into tablespoon-size pieces and chilled


In a 2-3-quart heavy saucepan, cook the wine, vinegar, and shallots over moderate heat until liquid has reduced to 2 to 3 tablespoons, about 5 minutes. Add the cream, and season with salt and white pepper to taste and boil 1 minute. Reduce heat to moderately low and add a few tablespoons of butter, whisking constantly. Add remaining butter a few pieces at a time, whisking constantly, and adding new pieces before previous ones have completely liquified (the sauce should maintain the consistency of Hollandaise), lifting pan from the heat occasionally to cool the mixture. 

Remove from heat and pour sauce through a medium-mesh sieve into a bowl, discarding the shallots.

Serve immediately.

Makes 1 cup/240 ml

Crystal’s Crystal@Home: A Virtual Cruise Experience program brings several elements of the renowned Crystal Experience directly to guests, wherever in the world they are. “Sunday Cooking with Chef Jon Ashton” represents the culinary excellence found aboard Crystal ships, as some of the greatest travel memories are created over the greatest meals.

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