“What’s your favorite fish?” The question seems simple enough, but the answer is actually quite difficult. Once you start to think about it, there are a lot of factors that go into choosing a preferred type. Do you prefer the taste? Is sustainability important? How do you feel about mercury content? This blog post takes a close look at an original seafood entree, Alaska halibut with pea puree and pesto over focaccia, and breaks down timing, taste, and sustainability considerations before delving into an easy recipe that you can put together on any day of the week—courtesy of our ambassador, Jennifer Bushman.
Peak halibut season occurs from May to September, which makes it an excellent summer dish. The Alaskan halibut is found in Alaska and British Columbia, bordered by the Pacific Ocean in the South. The same cooling Pacific wind and fog the Alaskan halibut enjoy throughout their life is reminiscent of the region in which some of our Chardonnay grapes are grown, albeit much more temperate. It should be of no surprise that Chardonnay wines are a classic pairing choice for the Alaskan Halibut.
A wine with complex layerings, such as a 2019 Chardonnay Vintage, will evoke refinement and freshness while not overpowering the structures of the Alaskan halibut’s flesh. Anticipate a light sensation of the palate, which might just be the perfect complement to your warm day. You will feel as if you are seated on a terrace overlooking the hillside vineyards in California’s North Coast.
Protected from Overfishing and Sustainably Processed
The Alaskan halibut is protected from overfishing by the Marine Stewardship Council. To ensure sustainability, seafood has to originate from fisheries that catch fish using methods that preserve the long-term health of a stock or species and the well-being of our ocean.
For example, Alaska Glacier Seafoods has a 10,000 square foot waterfront processing facility on the pristine waters of Auke Nu Cove in Alaska. The fresh and frozen wild-caught Alaskan halibut is produced by adhering to the highest environmental and social standards, which encourages sustainable aquaculture champion, and Dough Wines Ambassador, Jennifer Bushman.
Flash freezing at the dockside facility stops the natural deterioration of the Alaskan halibut and locks in freshness before arriving at your kitchen. Once home in your kitchen, place the frozen halibut in the refrigerator or cool water to thaw evenly until it is ready to be cooked. Also, a quick reminder—once thawed, the fish will maintain its freshness in your refrigerator for up to seven days.
Fresh and Readily-Available Ingredients
This recipe is quick and easy to make, requiring only pantry staples. Not only are the ingredients widely available at most grocery stores, the prep and cooking time of this wonderful recipe is suited to the hustle and bustle of your life, yet it can also be made for a Sunday dinner.
Heartier Fish: Foods that Pair Well with Chardonnay
Heartier fish, such as salmon and halibut, typically pair nicely with white wines. The chardonnay grape is a favorite food pairing for several sommeliers because of its full-bodied flavor and light-to-medium-oak presence. It pairs well with pretty much all seafood, raw and cooked but truly shines with heartier and richer seafood dishes that feature buttery or nuttier flavors!
With its bright citrus aroma and curd, honeysuckle floral notes, accompanied by a hint of spice and pie crust, Dough Wines’ 2019 Chardonnay teases your taste buds before and during your Alaskan Halibut dinner. Its crisp and creamy finish will prepare your taste buds for a seaward journey where you experience the fresh air of the Alaskan glaciers even as you have your first bite of the Alaskan Halibut.
Since the Chardonnay grape easily adapts to its terroir, it melds the flavors of juicy fresh pineapple, nectarine, and crisp Fuji apple of the North Coast of California to produce a complex layering that remains light on the palate.
4 6-oz Halibut fillets (1.5 lb total)
1/2 tsp paprika
1 tsp sea salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
2 tbsp olive oil
2 cups English peas, freshly shucked
2 tbsp unsalted butter
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 medium shallot
2 cups vegetable stock
1/4 tsp salt
1/8 tsp white pepper
Essential (But Not “Technically” Essential) Tastes:
Freshly made basil pesto
Baby greens or arugula
Sheets of fresh focaccia
Use paper towels to pat the halibut fillets completely dry – this will ensure even browning. Season the fish on both sides with garlic powder, paprika, sea salt, and black pepper and set aside. Then, heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat for two minutes.
Add the fish fillets in a single layer (you can do it in batches if the fish won’t fit). Sear, without moving, for three to four minutes until the edges of the fish are opaque. Flip and cook for a further two to four minutes until cooked through. Remove the fish from the pan and cover tightly with foil to keep warm.
Meanwhile, add the vegetable stock to a medium saucepan and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Add the peas and shallots, then boil until tender, about 8 minutes. Drain the peas and shallots into a bowl of ice water, reserving one cup of the liquid. Drain the peas and shallots once cool and add them to a blender with a quarter cup of the cooking liquid. Puree until smooth, adding more liquid until the puree is the consistency of a thickened milkshake.
Heat the focaccia brushed with olive oil. Spread the focaccia with a layer of pea puree and add the greens along with extra dollops of the puree. Break the fish into pieces and scatter over the greens. Cut the sheet of focaccia into pieces and serve.
Enjoy the Wonderful Combination of Halibut and Chardonnay
Pairing a seared Alaskan halibut with aptly chosen chardonnay is an easy way to win the hearts of whoever you’re cooking for. Choosing a sustainably fished halibut contributes to a healthy future for you, your community, and the environment.