I still have quite a bit of fish left in my freezer at the moment and it is literally packed to the gills! (no pun intended haha) I have to open the freezer door slowly for fear of sheer collapse of our perfectly orchestrated freezer stack. Do any of you guys have this problem too? . . . Oh the day when I can have a sub zero with a plethora of fridge and freezer space . . . uh-em back to reality!
Fridays are the days when Chris and I try make dinner and enjoy a little vino since we usually don’t get a chance to eat together much during the week. It seems like whenever he’s coming home, I’m leaving or when I’m leaving he’s coming home! We also found out recently that our offer on a foreclosure here has been accepted and we have opened escrow! Boy has it been a long process looking and dealing with short-sales. We started looking the end of January and we are just getting the ball rolling on one of our offers. I will have to post pictures of it because we are going to look again this weekend, just for fun! I am both excited and nervous for this new investment in our lives and hope everything works out.
On to the recipe . . .
Pesto Crusted Halibut
with Roasted Veggie Cous Cous
For the Pesto Paste:
- 3 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
- Large bunches of fresh basil leaves (about 4 oz by weight)
- 1/4 cup roasty toasty pine nuts
- 1/4-1/3 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
- zest and juice of 1 1/2 medium lemons
- 2 tbsp of olive oil
- 1/4 cup dry breadcrumbs
- salt and pepper
- 4 large halibut fillets (or you could use your favorite white fish)
For the cous cous:
- couple glugs of olive oil (2 tbsp)
- 1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
- 1 tbsp honey
- garlic powder and herbes de provence (italian seasoning)
- salt and pepper
- 1 lb. finely chopped carrots (about 2 1/4 cups)
- 1 lb. finely chopped zucchini (about 4 medium)
- 1 cup grapes, halved
- 1 1/2 cups whole wheat cous cous (you could certainly make quinoa too)
- 1 1/2 cups low-sodium veggie broth
- 1 roasted bell pepper, drained and chopped
- 1/3 cup goat cheese, crumbled
Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees.
Place the olive oil, balsamic, honey, garlic and spices into a zippy bag. Place the carrots, zucchini and grapes inside and let sit for about 5 minutes. Strain the veggies, reserving the marinade, and place on a foil-lined baking sheet.
To make the pesto pulse everything, except the fish, in a food processor until a paste consistency forms. Slather this mixture on each fish fillet and place on a foil-lined baking sheet. Turn the oven down to 350 and bake fish for 8-10 minutes, or until it flakes easily with a fork. Be careful not to over cook! Then you can broil for a few minutes to get it crusty. Alternatively, I’m sure you could grill it really quickly while slathering on the pesto.
While the veggies and fish are baking, boil the veggie broth; remove from heat, add cous cous, cover and let sit for about 5 minutes. Fluff with a fork and place in a large serving bowl.
When the veggies are done add them, along with the roasted bell pepper and goat cheese, to the cous cous and toss all together.
Serve the pesto-crusted halibut atop a nice scoop of the roasted veggie cous cous!
I had a bit of pesto paste leftover which I will use in a pasta dish, or as a slather for a roasted veggie sandwich, yum!
I also like to make a balsamic reduction to drizzle on pretty much anything: Just boil down about 2 cups of balsamic and a little honey gently, stirring frequently, until it gets thick and syrupy. It makes such a great accompaniment and presentation. Sorry, I’m in dire need of a better camera!
And for the vino spotlight . . .
Elderton’s 2007 Unoaked Chardonnay
First I have to tell you my beginnings with wine . . . When I first tasted wine (it was a red, bad idea), I couldn’t believe that people would actually drink this stuff! It was dry, pungent and burned my throat. I could hardly stand it. But, it’s funny, our palettes are very adaptable (as in the case with lower sodium) and can adjust to many different flavors, and like many things, wine can be an acquired taste for some. Chris and I have a lot of fun trying new wines and even went to Napa a few spring breaks ago to visit my aunt who works at some of the wineries there. Here is a picture of us touring Pride Winery – breathtaking views! Good memories!
When you first start out drinking wine, you have to start easy, and that means white. Rieslings were my absolute favorite starting out. Light, refreshing, sweet and easy to drink. Chardonnays are a more advanced white, usually heavier, and most have a bit of oak. I’m not a fan of oaky chards, I would much rather have butter (a fuller mouthfeel sensation created from using Malolactic fermentation). Now I really prefer red wines like red Zinfandel, and am currently trying to get more educated about different Italian varietals.
A great buttery chard for a great price would have to be Ravenswood (the winery in the first picture), although the one we tried at the winery is the best, but I can’t find it anywhere! This one doesn’t age too well, so I would get the youngest year you can find.
Unoaked chards are in a class by themselves. They are aged in steel rather than oak, so all you get is fresh, bright fruit essence that is not overpowered by heavy oak. The Elderton chard is a wonderful example of this. Bright, fruity and a little bit of mineral. It has a fresh pear taste; crisp with hints of peach and melon.
But, really the most important part about drinking any wine is that YOU like the flavor! And most great wines you can get for $15 and under.
What’s your favorite type of wine? I’d love to hear all about them!