In the Bender Kitchen: Chef Brian Lewis Dishes a Halibut Sure To Please

CT Style

(NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) – In the Bender Kitchen today Chef Brian Lewis prepares a Maine Halibut baked in fig leaves.

Brian Lewis is one of Connecticut’s most celebrated chefs, lauded for his commitment to quality and seasonally driven American cuisine featured at his restaurant, The Cottage.  The Westport, Connecticut based restaurant was recognized with an “Excellent” review in the New York Times, after only being open for four months, commending Lewis’ sophisticated menu in a cozy setting.

He first received national recognition as the opening Executive Chef of actor Richard Gere’s The Bedford Post Inn, a Relais & Chateaux property that featured two destination restaurants, The Barn and The Farmhouse. There, he acquired national acclaim including Esquire Magazine’s “Best New Restaurant” list in 2009, and an “Excellent” review in the New York Times for his thoughtful and consciously sourced cuisine. He launched his first solo venture in March, 2012 with elm, where he was once again named to Esquire Magazine’s “”Best New Restaurant” list, this time in 2012, before leaving to focus on launching The Cottage in Connecticut’s Westport neighborhood.

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Maine Halibut Baked in Fig LeavesIngredients:

4 / 6 ounces portions of center – cut Maine halibut filet, skin removed

4 fresh fig leaves

2 Tbsp. lemon olive oil

4Tbsp. unsalted butter

kosher salt, to taste


  1. Pre-heat oven to 275
  2. Thirty minutes before cooking, place the halibut onto a baking dish, season with kosher salt, add the lemon oil and buerre fondue over the top of the fish and cover completely with the fig leaves.
  3. Let sit at room temperature for 30 minutes.
  4. Place in a 275 F pre-heated oven for 12-15 minutes, until just tender and opaque.
  5. Remove from the oven, remove the fig leaves and discard.

Morels, Peas & RampsIngredients:

  • 20 fresh morel mushrooms, stems trimmed and washed two times in cold water and braised in butter ( recipe attached).
  • 1 cup shelled English peas, blanched for 20 seconds in salted water and refreshed in ice water.
  • 2 Tbsp. lemon olive oil
  • 2 Tbsp. unsalted butter
  • 16 wild ramps, roots trimmed and ramps washed thoroughly in cold water. Once washed, separate the green tops from the white bottom. Set green tops aside and alive the white part thinly crosswise.
  • 6 ounces buerre fondue
  • 2 Tbsp. lemon olive oil
  • water


  1. Place the butter, water and lemon olive oil in a medium size sauce pan with a heavy bottom, add the morel mushrooms, white part of ramps and season with kosher salt to taste, cooking gently for 2-3 minutes over medium heat to fully incorporate the flavors, being careful to not break the emulsified butter.
  2. Add the cooked English peas and season with kosher salt to taste, return to the medium heat for one minute and heat through and combine all flavors well.
  3. Heat a large saute pan with 2 Tbsp. of extra virgin olive oil and gently wilt over medium heat, season to tastw with kosher salt.
  4. Remove the green part of the ramps and set aside.


  1. Place one piece of perfectly cooked, warm halibut in the center of a serving plate and spoon the peas, morels and ramps with their juices over the halibut. Top with a few pieces of the wilted green part of the ramps and serve immediately.

Butter Braised Morel Mushrooms:

  • 20 Morel Mushrooms, trimmed and washed in cold water two times
  • 4 ounces unsalted butter
  • kosher salt, to taste


  1. In a medium size, heavy bottom sauce pan, melt the butter and add the morels, season with kosher salt to taste and let the mushrooms cook slowly on the stove top until almost all of their juices have cooked and glazed the mushrooms with the butter, about 30 minutes of slow cooking on the stove top aad a watchful eye.
  2. Adjust the seasoning and set aside in their juices until needed.

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