CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- With the onset of fall, I usually segue from lighter wine and food choices to the more hearty fare this cool season seems to demand. But not just yet.Since I was unable to shed my winter coat (i.e. blubber) this summer, I'm forcing myself to eat lighter for the next few weeks. Yes, I hope to shed a few pounds, but I resolutely refuse to deny myself (and those within my ample shadow) the flavorful food or fruit of the vine we so rightly deserve.And while it may seem oxymoronic to say this, I am going to provide you with a recipe for some healthy comfort food along with a couple of wines that match up to them quite nicely. Yes, that's right, low-calorie, wine-friendly food that is not only delicious, but healthy too.The dish uses a filet of firm white fish, in this instance halibut, as the lean protein component. Those of you who wish, however, can substitute boneless, skinless chicken breasts or any other mild white fish. I will also recommend both white and red wines to pair with the meal. I call this recipe:
(Just For The) HalibutServes 4
4 6-ounce halibut filets1 cup of wild rice1 tablespoon of butter (optional)1 ounce of extra virgin olive oil2 large tomatoes chopped1/2 cup of kalamata olives pitted2 tablespoons of capers in brine1 tablespoon of minced garlic1 shallot chopped
1 tablespoon of balsamic vinegar4 ounces of dry white wine (I use wine I will drink with the meal)1/2 teaspoon of red chili flakes (optional)Salt and pepper to tasteCOOK
the wild rice, add salt, pepper and butter (or oil) to taste; set asideSAUTE
the garlic, tomatoes, shallots in olive oil for 5 minutes at high heat.
the wine, vinegar, olives, capers and chili flakes to the sauté pan.COOK
for 5 minutes more at medium heat; set aside.RUB
the fish all over with salt and pepper.SAUTE
fish in a tablespoon of olive oil for 4 minutes (2 minutes per side).SPOON
half the sauce onto the fish and roast in a 400-degree oven for 15 minutes.REHEAT
the rice and mound on plates.PLACE
the fish over the rice and spoon the rest of the sauce over each filet.SERVE
immediately.Here are some excellent wines to accompany the meal.• 2012 St. Supery Sauvignon Blanc ($20) -- Citrus and melon flavors highlight this fresh, well-balanced wine. Excellent acidity and a long finish makes this the perfect accompaniment to the halibut.• 2012 Kenwood Sonoma County Chardonnay ($12) -- This medium bodied, refreshing chardonnay has hints of ripe green apples with just a touch of vanilla on the finish. Crisp and balanced, this is a food friendly chardonnay that will enhance the flavors of the halibut.• 2011 Allegrini Valpolicella Classico ($14) -- This northern Italian red has bright cherry flavors with a spicy tea-like nuance. This is a light to medium bodied red that pairs well, especially with the sauce in the halibut dish.For more on the art and craft of wine, visit John Brown's Vines & Vittles blog at thegazz.com.