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A Blog By Far Niente

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Matching Food and Wine: Summer Sauvignon Blanc Edition

Categories: Food and Wine Recipes, Uncategorized, Wine Pairing

matching food and wine When it comes to matching food and wine here at Far Niente, seasonality matters as much as the rules. As spring transitions to summer, Pacific halibut season is in high gear on the west coast. So, we asked Executive Chef Sarah Walz to shake up that classic warm-weather food and wine pairing: white wine with fish.

We’re excited to share Chef Sarah’s latest food and wine match, our all-new 2019 Bella Union Sauvignon Blanc and a halibut recipe with some zhug!

No, we haven’t suddenly adopted a new form of culinary slang. Zhug is a blend of chili, garlic, coriander, cumin, cardamom, clove, cilantro, and salt. “A friend recently gave me jar from a local spice company, and it’s shaken up my home cooking routine!” says Chef Sarah. “If you want an extra kick to your fish, add a couple shakes of zhug to the dish. Want to take the spice down a notch? That’s ok, too. The halibut is basted in the most fragrant thyme and garlic butter sauce. It’s not lacking for flavor, especially when paired with the bright tropical notes of our new Napa Valley wine, the Bella Union Sauvignon Blanc!”


Pan Roasted Alaskan Halibut with Wilted Cabbage and Spring Onions

Serves 4


4 six-ounce Halibut fillets, skin removed

Kosher Salt

Fresh Ground Pepper

2 tablespoons grapeseed or vegetable oil

2 tablespoons butter (2 additional tablespoons optional)

3 thyme sprigs

2 smashed garlic cloves

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 cup chopped spring onion

1 tablespoon chopped garlic

4 cups chopped green cabbage

1 cup diced apple

2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar


Pan-Seared Fish:

First, open that bottle of Napa Valley Sauvignon Blanc now, and allow those lush tropical notes to open up and shine. Go ahead and pour yourself a glass (because cooking’s more relaxing with a sip or two of wine!).  Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Remove halibut fillets and pat dry to remove any moisture. Season both sides with kosher salt and fresh ground pepper. Heat a large oven-safe sauté pan on high heat. If you’re using a cast-iron pan, lower your heat to medium-high. Add one tablespoons of grapeseed oil. When you see lines forming in the oil and it’s just about to smoke, add the halibut. Sear for two to three minutes until the edges turn golden, then flip the fillets away from you. Sear for two minutes. Keeping the fish in the pan, put all in the oven. Cook for seven minutes, then remove pan and place on stove over low heat. Add two tablespoons butter, thyme sprigs, and smashed garlic to the pan until the butter completely melts. Using an oven mit to prevent burns, tilt the pan, scoop the drippings and baste each fish with the buttery garlic-thyme goodness.

Apple-cider cabbage: Heat a six-quart stainless steel pot on medium heat. Add olive oil, then spring onions and sauté for 2 minutes. Add garlic, followed by the cabbage and the apples. Sauté for three minutes until wilted. Add your apple cider vinegar, and season with kosher salt and fresh ground pepper. For added richness, incorporate two tablespoons of butter and stir to combine.

Divide evenly among four warmed plates, add your halibut, refill your glass with Bella Union Sauvignon Blanc, and enjoy how the bright acidity and subtle hint of the tropics both contrasts and harmonizes with the light fish and fragrant buttery-baste. When it comes to matching food and wine, we love experimenting, but it also help to have a few easy, seasonal menus on standby. We’re definitely adding this to our list of favorites!

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