2 shallots, finely chopped

1 green bell pepper, seeded and finely chopped

1/2 red bell pepper, seeded and finely chopped

Butter for baking dish

2 large or 4 small halibut steaks, 1 to 11/2 inches thick

Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

2 ripe tomatoes, peeled, seeded and chopped

1 lemon, halved and thinly sliced, blanched in boiling water 1 minute

1/2 cup dry white wine

2 tablespoons dry vermouth

1/2 cup clam juice

1/4 cup whipping cream

2 tablespoons chopped parsley

2 tablespoons chopped chives

Make a bed of the shallots and peppers in a buttered baking dish large enough to hold the steaks. Arrange steaks on top, sprinkle with salt and pepper and cover with chopped tomatoes and lemon slices. Combine the wine, vermouth and clam juice and pour over the fish. Transfer to a 400-degree oven and bake 10 to 15 minutes.

Drain the cooking liquid into a small, heavy pan and boil down over high heat to 1/4 cup. Add 1/4 cup whipping cream and boil 2 minutes. Add chopped herbs, correct the seasoning, pour over fish and serve. Serve with steamed rice, if desired.

You may wish to precede the entree with a bowl of chilled avocado and buttermilk soup, another Beard favorite. Adapted from The New James Beard (Knopf, 1981) WHITE CHOCOLATE DIVINITY FUDGE (