Saturday, July 19, 2008

Halibut, Sweet and Spicy

One of the best things about the period from March to mid October is fresh Alaskan Halibut. I would be hard pressed to choose between halibut and Alaskan Salmon.

Today was the halibut's turn. It was a simple preparation. I dusted the fillet with chipotle powder and seared it flesh side down in a small skillet over high heat. It was flipped over to skin side down and then the skillet was popped into a hot oven for eight minutes.

The eight minutes were long enough to quickly seam some thin asparagus spears.

Prior to this I made a fruit salsa with chopped mango, fresh tomatoes, dice jalapeno chili, minced red onion, chopped cilantro, fresh lime juice, a dash of red wine vinegar and three drops of my favorite habanero hot sauce, Smack My Ass and Call Me Sally.
There is such sweetness and delicacy in the halibut that it amazes me how well it stands up to spicy things. The chipotle powder gives it a crust with a little bite to it and, the peppers and hot sauce give it another flavor dimension. They play off each other like a couple dancing a seductive tango on your tongue.

The wine was a 2005 Markus Molitor Zeltinger Sonnenuhr Riesling Kabinett from the Mosel. The wine is on the sweet side for a Kabinett but it had such wonderful acidity that it matched perfectly with the fish and the salsa. I was getting some stone fruit on the front end, but it ended with an aftertaste of lime and minerals. A totally refreshing wine, and at 7.5% alcohol one that could be sipped all evening. As it warmed a little the lime in the finish became more pronounced. At $17 a bottle it is a great bargain.

Scott and Ellie were more than happy to get the halibut skin as a snack after dinner before heading out to chase a new cat that moved into the neighborhood today.

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