Magazine article Sunset

Drink with the Fishes

Magazine article Sunset

Drink with the Fishes

Article excerpt

Don't settle for the house white at your favorite seafood shack-these matches will really make waves

Best white-wine matches

Deep-fried calamari+ sparkling wine

A brut-style bubbly blend of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir is a bright, citrusy foil for crisp fried food, with a berry-flavor bridge to the sweet squid.

Crabcakes + Pinot Blanc

Pour this nuanced mix of citrus and stone-fruit flavors in lieu of the ubiquitous Chardonnay (although a crabcake is one partner that won't kick Chard out of bed).

Steamed mussels + Pinot Gris

Here's a wine that offers citrus and minerals to echo the brininess of mussels, along with sweet pear and apple flavors that team up with the sweetness of the shellfish.

Fish and chips + Chenin Blanc

With crisp-battered fish, this delicate, lemony white is better than a squeeze of lemon.

Best red-wine matches

doppino + Barbera

This Italian grape, with minty dark cherries and berries and juicy acidity, punches up the herbs in the cioppino's broth and keeps step with its sweet seafood.

Grilled salmon + Pinot Noir

Salmon and this lightbodied red have matching silky textures, and berries and warm spices in the wine set off the sweet, pungent fish.

Grilled halibut with fennel, tomatoes, and roasted garlic rouile

SERVES 4 TIME About 1 ¼ hours

Make both red- and white-wine lovers happy. This meaty halibut dish goes both ways: We love it with a light-bodied, high-acid red, such as Sangiovese, and with two aromatic white Rhône grapes, Roussanne and Marsanne (traditionally blended with Viognier but now going solo more often).

About 3 tbsp. olive oil

5 cups thinly sliced sweet onions (about 1 ½lbs.)

3 cups thinly sliced fennel bulb (about ½lb.; save green fronds for garnish if you like)

2 tbsp. minced garlic

½ cup dry white wine

1 tbsp. each grated orange peel and chopped fresh thyme leaves

½ tsp. saffron threads, crumbled

2 cups coarsely chopped firm-ripe tomatoes (about ¾ lb.)

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

4 pieces boned, skinned halibut fillet (1 in. thick, 5 to 6 oz. each), rinsed and dried

Roasted Garlic Rouille (recipe follows)

1. Pour 3 tbsp. oil into a large frying pan over medium heat. When hot, add onions, fennel, and garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, until very soft, about 15 minutes. Add wine, orange peel, thyme, and saffron; boil over mediumhigh heat, stirring often, until liquid has evaporated, about 3 minutes. Add tomatoes and salt and pepper to taste; reduce heat to low and cook, occasionally stirring gently, just until heated through, about 2 minutes. …

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