It was a very long week at work trying to get five days worth of effort into four days, thanks to having last Monday off as a holiday. That meant two good meals in one weekend and a lot of relaxing.
I knew going into the weekend that I wanted to fix something to go with the 2007 Kinkead Ridge Riesling that I picked up on Monday at the winery. The wine has 1.2% residual sugar and comes in at less than 12% alcohol by volume, so spicy was what I was thinking.
We ended up with an eight ounce fillet of Alaskan halibut. Needing some spice, I dusted it with ground chipotle pepper, then super heated a small skillet, added some grape seed oil and tossed in the fish - flesh side down. We seared that side for a minute or so, then flipped the fish to skin side down and tossed it in a 450 degree oven for a little better than five minutes.
While the fish was baking I made a tomato, red onion, lime juice, red wine vinegar, cilantro, olive oil and serrano chili sauce; adding less than an eighth of a teaspoon of tomato paste to pick up the flavor of a spring tomato. There was some aged basmati rice cooked in chicken stock to complete the meal.
Halibut has become my white fish of choice in the last couple of years. It is affordable, sweet, environmentally acceptable and it takes to so many sauces that it is truly a versatile fish. In season from March to October it lends itself to a myriad of cooking methods and flavors, yet retains its distinct taste.
Between the fish and the salsa it was a perfect match for the wine. The slight residual sugar in the wine matched well with the finely minced serrano pepper and the low alcohol and crisp acidity just highlighted the sweetness in the halibut. I particularly liked the fire from the serrano with the residual sugar in the wine as they both complimented each other. I only used one serrano and only a very few ribs and seeds, but it was enough to wake up the palate for the wine. A very good pairing.