Pairing: Pan-seared Halibut Cheeks with Mustard Cream Sauce Paired with 2017 Sheid Vineyards Roussanne
Food: OK … full disclosure … halibut cheeks are not that easy to come by (the halibut fishery is appropriately a very tightly managed fishery due to the limited stocks). So, if you can find cheeks in a fish market, they can be a bit pricy. We are fortunate to have an acquaintance who is a fisherman on Prince Edward Island, from whom we can purchase a whole fish (30+ lbs per fish). The prized parts of this delicious fish are the fleshy sides of the mouth … i.e., the cheeks. Note: A fine substitute for the halibut cheeks in this recipe, and more readily available, is sea scallops. But if you can score some halibut cheeks (or cod cheeks) … well, it’s quite a treat!
Halibut cheeks can range in size from about an inch and a half to a three to four inch oval. If you are fortunate to live near a good market, you may want to inquire as to their ability to make a special order.
To make two servings, warm 2 tsp olive oil over medium-high heat in a saute pan. Put about 2/3 lb of fish cheeks in a single layer and cook for one minute on one side. Turn them over and cook for another 30 seconds. Remove fish to a warm plate. Turn the heat down to medium and add 1/4 cup white wine and a clove of garlic, minced, to the pan. As soon as the wine has mostly evaporated, add 2 Tbs of heavy cream, some chives, and 1 Tbs dijon mustard, stirring all the while. The cream will start to thicken so put the fish back into the sauce to warm. Serve with rice pilaf and baby beets and their greens.
Wine: A couple of years back, my wife and I spent a delightful weekend in the charming coastal village of Carmel-by-the-Sea in California. For wine geeks like us, we couldn’t have found a more perfect locale to sample an amazing array of wines from the Central Coast wine region. The best of the best was the Roussanne made by Scheid Vineyards.
Roussanne is most often associated with the wine regions of southern France, Cotes du Roussillon and the Rhone. In these locales, Roussanne is frequently blended with Viognier, Grenache Blanc, and/or Marsanne to make the signature white wines of these regions. California winemakers have gained worldwide respect for creating New World versions of these cherished French white wines. They also make splendid single varietal wines from each of the aforementioned grapes.
Tasting Notes: A pale greenish-gold color. Both the nose and the palate show cantaloupe melon, white clover, and a garden of mixed flowers. Some tangy minerality completes the picture. Wonderful! One could sip this all evening all by itself. But as a pairing wine, it is absolutely perfect served with the halibut cheeks. Can’t give too many accolades to this marriage made in heaven!
Other Wines That Pair Well with Halibut Cheeks: Chablis (Burgundy, France), Viognier (Languedoc, France), Sancerre (Loire Valley, France), Chardonnay (California)
Other Food That Pairs Well with Roussanne: Smoked Fish, Scallops, Chicken, Risotto
View Maps and Views of Monterey Wine Region: Monterey County Wine Regions
A Source: www.scheidvineyards.com