Choucroute Marinire

2008 Nov/Dec

This is a seafood version of choucroute garni called choucroute marinière. It seemed an unlikely variation, but it provides a more delicate taste and the lusciousness of the beurre blanc acted as a foil to the tangy sauerkraut. You can use all duck fat or butter and olive oil or just olive oil.


  • 3 T. duck fat or butter
  • 3 T. olive oil
  • 2 pieces bacon, minced
  • 2 large onions, thinly sliced
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 4 c. sauerkraut, lightly rinsed
  • 8 juniper berries
  • 10 peppercorns
  • 4 c. plus another 2 c. riesling wine
  • 16 baby potatoes
  • 4  3-oz filets of salmon and halibut
  • 8 large scallops
  • Kosher salt
  • 1 medium shallot, minced
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • ¾ to 1 lb cold butter, cut into chunks
  • Grainy mustard


In a large, heavy-bottomed pan heat the duck fat and olive oil quite hot. Add the bacon and cook slightly, about 2 minutes, to release some of the fat. Add the sliced onions and continue to cook at high heat, stirring occasionally, about 8 to 10 minutes. Turn heat to medium and cook until onions are soft and translucent. Cover and ‘sweat’ onions over low heat 15 to 45 minutes. Uncover and stir in the garlic, sauerkraut, juniper berries and peppercorns. Turn heat to medium high and add the 4 cups of wine; nestle the potatoes into the sauerkraut and bring to a gentle boil, uncovered. Cook until potatoes are tender, about 30 minutes.

Put the salmon, halibut, and scallops on a cookie sheet and sprinkle liberally with salt. Allow to sit at room temperature for at least 30 minutes and as much as an hour. Preheat the oven to 450°F.

Just before serving, make the buerre blanc. Put the shallots and garlic clove in a saucepan with the 2 cups of wine  and reduce to 3 tablespoons over medium-high heat. Strain, reserve the liquid and discard the shallots and garlic. Put the reduced wine back into the pan and return to medium heat. Whisk in the chunks of butter one piece at a time until the sauce has incorporated enough butter to have a silky consistency and is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon; season with salt. The process of adding the butter will take about 10 minutes. Turn heat very low and cover with a lid. The sauce will separate if left more than 15 minutes.

As soon as the sauce is done, drain the water that the fish has released and put the cookie sheet with the seafood in the oven. Cook until slightly firm or to desired doneness, about 8 minutes.

To Serve
Ladle some beurre blanc sauce onto plates; place a generous amount of the choucroute on top, making sure to include a couple of potatoes, then garnish with the seafood. Serve with a grainy mustard. Serves 6 to 8.