In this month’s Perfect Pairs, Vina Robles Vineyards & Winery—located on the Eastside of Paso Robles—brings together the refreshing flavors of their 2014 Sauvignon Blanc Estate with Chef Julie’s pan seared halibut. This recipe features fresh ingredients of Kalamata olives, an array of culinary herbs, pistachios and preserved lemons, and is quite simple to prepare.
In its final form, the pan seared halibut is served on top of a bed of pistachio cilantro pesto, then topped with the preserved lemon Kalamata relish—delightfully fresh, zesty and flavorful. Both the pesto and relish work beautifully to enhance the flavors and textures of Vina Robles’ 2014 Sauvignon Blanc Estate.
Halibut, being the robust white fish that it is, really works well with Sauvignon Blanc—especially one that is fermented on lees. Fermenting the wine on lees brings a fuller body and rounder texture, which really complements the rich texture of the halibut. On the other hand, this Sauvignon Blanc still retains a lot of nice crispness and acidity, which works very well with the zesty flavor of the preserved lemons, brininess of the Kalamata olives, and fresh parsley and mint.
As for the pistachio cilantro pesto, additional texture is brought to the dish with the crunchy pistachios, while the cilantro dances with the gentle minerality and fruit flavors in the wine. Guava, pear and hints of grapefruit in the Sauvignon Blanc mingle with the complex flavors of this dish and make for a perfect summertime pairing.
For more summertime pairings, and dishes appropriate for all year long, visit www.vinarobles.com. With recommendations like beef bourguignon and their Suendero blend, or braised short ribs and their Cabernet Sauvignon, there are boundless pairings for every season and occasion.
For a taste of the Vina Robles collection, visit the tasting room daily from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. at 3700 Mill Road in Paso Robles. For further information, call (805) 227-4812 or visit their website at www.vinarobles.com.
Chef Julie’s Pan Seared Halibut
Enjoy with Vina Robles 2014 Sauvignon Blanc Estate.
MAIN DISH INGREDIENTS | (Serves 4)
• 4 portions of halibut, 6-8 oz. each
• 1/4 cup preserved lemon, chopped into 1/2” pieces
• 1/2 cup Kalamata olives, cut in half lengthwise
• 1/4 cup olive oil plus 1 Tb for cooking the halibut
• 1/4 cup Italian parsley, chopped
• 1 Tb fresh mint, chiffonade
• 1 Tb shallots, chopped
• salt & pepper to taste
- Preheat oven to 375° F.
- Season halibut with salt and pepper. Mix preserved lemon, Kalamata olives, olive oil, Italian parsley, fresh mint and shallots in small bowl. Season with salt and pepper. Reserve.
- Heat a 12” non-stick oven proof skillet to medium. Add 1 tablespoon olive oil to heated skillet.
- Place halibut in skillet and sear on one side for 2-3 minutes. Using a fish spatula, turn over and place back in skillet. Put skillet into oven and finish halibut, approximately 6-7 minutes.
- Remove and allow to rest for plating.
PISTACHIO CILANTRO PESTO INGREDIENTS | (Makes 1 cup)
• 1 cup pistachios, shelled
• 1/2 cup cilantro, cleaned and dried, leaves and stems
• 1/4 cup pistachio oil
• 1 cup olive oil
• 3 garlic cloves, blanched in boiling water for 1 minute
• salt & pepper to taste
- Add all ingredients in bowl of food processor. Process until smooth and reserve for plating.
- Place 2 tablespoons of pesto on plate and use back of spoon to form a circle, approximately six inches in diameter. Set halibut on pesto circle, covering only half of the pesto circle.
- Top halibut with 2 tablespoons of preserved lemon Kalamata relish.
*Originally published in Wine Country This Month magazine.