Greek Mahi Mahi

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INGREDIENTS

1-1/4 LB mahi mahi fillets 1/3 cup olive oil Juice from a lemon 3 TBSP fresh oregano, chopped 4 TBSP fresh mint, chopped 2 garlic clove, minced 1 TSP lemon zest 1/4 salt

Rinse mahi mahi and pat dry.  Cut fish into bite-sized pieces.  In a small bowl stir together olive oil, lemon juice, oregano, garlic, mint, lemon zest and salt.  Marinate fish in mixture for at least 1 hour. Pour marinade in a separate bowl.  Prehat grill to medium heat.  Spray grill with grill spray and grill fish for about 5-6 minutes each side.  Brush with marinade while grilling.  Serve with diced tomato and mixed vegetables.

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Wine Pairing -

Picture the ingredients and how they'll register on your palate.  Start to imagine how they'll be perceived by your sweet, sour, bitter and salt combined with umami receptors.  The lemon will provide some sour while the garlic will lend some of the bitterness.  Umami will be perceived by the cut of fish, try to get the mahi mahi as fresh as possible by going to a market other than a massive chain grocery store.

There's not much sweetness going on here.  You can either match flavors by getting a wine that compliments the lemon flavor like a Sauvignon Blanc or you could contrast that and go for something that isn't lemon, and is sweeter like a Riesling.  Personal preference.

Personally, I'd go with a wine that's more closely aligned with the region the dish originated from.  Since this is a dish that comes from the Greek/Mediterranean part of the world, I'd seek out a wine that is also from that region.  Greek producer, Boutari produces a white wine called Moschofilero that would pair beautifully with this dish.  The wine comes from the Mantinia regoin of Peloponnese from 2100 feet above sea level.  That provides a climate for a fresh, crisp wine with the acidity to stand up to the sauciness.  Look for honey, citrus and melon notes that will intermingle with the Oregeno and Mint on your tongue.  Enjoy!

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Balsamic Glazed King Salmon

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I'm finding salmon to be a really great fish for wine and food pairings.  There are so many different ways to prepare salmon, and a wide range of wines to pair with.  One of my favorite grapes is Pinot Noir, and Pinot just happens to go hand in hand with salmon.

This dish makes good use of the Balsamic vinegar to cover up any fishy taste.  Norwegian salmon is nice and fatty, and has a flavor perfect for this dish.  When you grill the salmon, the grilled flavor really gives the salmon a nice glaze.

Check out the 1996 Domaine Leroy Bourgogne from Burgundy. Burgundy Pinot Noirs take longer to come together in the bottle so you have to be patient.  When you get a good one, it's magic in a bottle.  Burgundy has 4 levels designated on their labels:

Bourgogne - when you see that on the label, it means the grapes were sourced from anywhere in Burgundy.  Pretty broad area.

Villages - Burgundy is broken up into villages, such as Cote de Nuits.  This zooms into a smaller area within Burgundy.  Grapes from that village are in a Villages bottle, pronounced (vilaj).

1er Cru - Also known as Premiere Cru.  This zooms in even more to a specific vineyard that's within a village, which is within Burgundy.  Pinot really starts to express terroir when you get into a specific vineyard.  Quality and collectility goes up.

Grand Cru - When you get a wine from a Grand Cru vineyard, you have something special.  This is the ultimate expression of terroir and winemaking.  Some Grand Cru wines from Burgundy fetch upwards of $2,000 a bottle because the quality is the highest, but supply is the lowest.

Leroy is one of the top producers in Burgundy, so although her Bourgogne is the lowest of the four levels, hers is still spectacular.  The 1996 is very youthful, velvety and complex.  Aromas out of the glass are like a tractor beam bringing the glass to your lips—you're powerless to stop it.

LeroyBoug

recipe from Chef Ron Barber

INGREDIENTS 4 salmon steaks – about 6 ounces each, 1 inch thick 1 cup balsamic vinegar 1/2 cup Cabernet Franc 1 TBSP fresh lime juice 1 TSP sugar

Combine the balsamic vinegar, wine, lime juice, and sugar in a small saucepan.  Bring to a simmer and reduce the mixture by half – allow to cool.  Add the salmon steaks to the marinade and refrigerate for 30 minutes.  Prepare a charcoal or gas grill.  Remove the salmon from the marinade and pat dry.  Season with salt and pepper and grill over high heat for about 4 minutes per side.  Serve with grilled vegetables and steamed rice.

photo via SheKnows

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Seared Duck Breast with Cherry Port Sauce

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INGREDIENTS 1 cup Soy Sauce 1 cup Sherry 4 6-OZ duck breast halves 12 frozen dark sweet cherries, thawed and halved 1 cup chicken stock 1 cup beef stock 1/2 cup ruby port 1 fresh thyme sprig 1 TSP cornstarch dissolved into 2 TBSP water 1/4 cup butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces

Whisk soy sauce and Sherry in medium bowl to blend. Using a sharp knife, make diagonal slits on the duck breasts 1/2-inch apart making sure to not cut too deep (not through meat). Place duck, skin side up into glass baking dish. Pour marinade over. Cover duck with plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 2 hours and up to 6 hours. Bring cherries, chicken stock, beef stock, port and thyme spring to boil in a heavy medium saucepan over high heat. Simmer until mixture is reduced to 1/2 cup.

marinate the duck breasts

Meanwhile, heat heavy large skillet over medium heat. Remove duck from marinade. Add duck breasts, skin side down to skillet. Cook until skin is crispy, about 10 minutes. Turn duck over and continue cooking to desired doneness, about 5 minutes for medium. Transfer duck to cutting board or other surface. Add cornstarch mixture to port-cherry sauce. Bring to simmer, whisking constantly. Add butter one piece at a time until melted.

Slice duck breast and fan out on plates. Spoon sauce over duck then serve.

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Colorado Baby Back Ribs

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MARINADE: 2 cups chicken stock 1/4 cup soy sauce 1/4 cup dry sherry 2 TBSP brown sugar 1 TSP fennel seeds, crushed 8 black peppercorns OTHER INGREDIENTS: 1 rack of baby back ribs 3 green onions, chopped

In a saucepan, Bring marinade ingredients to a boil. Simmer 10 minutes, then cool. Place ribs in a shallow pan, cover with marinade. Refrigerate over night, or at least for 2 hours. Preheat oven to 350ºF as ribs come to room temp. Bake ribbs for 45 minutes, basting occasionallly. Heat grill to medium. Cook ribs for 5-7 minutes each side basting with marinade. Serve garnished with green onions and marinade on the side.

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Maple Soy Salmon

Grades of Vermont maple syrup. From left to ri...
Image via Wikipedia

Serves 4 people

2 6-OZ salmon fillets with skin 1/3 cup maple syrup 1/3 cup low sodium soy sauce 1 TSP adobo sauce ¼ TSP garlic salt Hollandaise (mix or from scratch)

In small bowl whisk together maple syrup, soy sauce, adobo and garlic salt.  Place salmon skin down in an 8x8 glass dish.  Pour mixture over salmon, flip salmon over and marinate skin side up for at least 3 hours (marinating longer will cover up fishy flavor).

Cook salmon on grill over medium heat 4-6 minutes skin side up, then about 4-6 minutes skin side down.  Salmon grilling tips here.

Remove salmon from grill, make sure to remove skin thoroughly.  Serve with hollandaise on the side or spooned over salmon.

To pair with this recipe I like Pinot Noir.  Pinot is a great wine to pair with salmon anyway, but the maple-soy flavors really work well with the nuances of a quality Pinot Noir.  Some of the Pinots I've found to be ideal with this are Soter Beacon Hill from Oregon, Klee from Oregon, Aresti from Chile or Sebastiani Pinot from CA.

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