Although it’s winter, we don’t have to rely on comfort food to help us feel warm and cozy. Even though Mee Maw’s chicken pot pie, Nonna’s traditional lasagna, or Aunt Betty’s favorite casserole is calling you in from the cold, there are times we need something light and refreshing, yet just as flavorful, that creates a feeling of contentment. I found not only the perfect dish, but two exceptional wines, Vionta Albariño 2016 and Granbazan Etiqueta Verde Albariño 2016, (sent as samples) for pairing.

Albarino
 

From my newest cookbook (sent as a sample), Fresh Tastes from A Well-Seasoned Kitchen by Lee Clayton Roper, is a recipe that’s scrumptious in every way: Grilled Citrus Salmon (see recipe and photograph below). A snap to make (the salmon can be grilled or baked in foil), the recipe delivered savory flavors from the first bite to the last. Atop the salmon was a warm sauce of fresh lemon juice, Dijon mustard, chopped garlic, dill, capers, basil, and a dash of cayenne pepper… Is your mouth watering yet? Complemented by two lipsmacking wines from Spain, this flavorful pairing is not only weeknight worthy but should be considered an outstanding choice for dinner parties.

Albarino and Grilled Citrus Salmon
Ahhhh – the wines! If you’ve never tried Albariño, following are two choices, both from Val do Salnes, one of five sub-regions of Spain’s Riax Baixas, to discover. Centered around the town of Cambados, the cold and wet region is the site to the oldest Albariño plantations. Today, the region boasts the most area under vine and the largest number of wineries. Soils are based on granite with alluvial topsoil. I love a brilliant Albariño with appetizers, salads, light pasta dishes, raw oysters… and now with this recipe.

Albarino
The Vionta Albariño 2016 ($18), was a striking example produced by an estate that boasts one of the largest Albariño vineyards in Spain, about 80 acres. Complex aromas of lemon, honeysuckle, ripe orchard fruit, tropical fruits including kiwi and banana, and a touch of honey burst from the glass. On the palate, bright acidity, a dash of minerality, zesty lemon, apricot, peaches, and lively citrus led to a finish that was crisp and clean with just a twang of tart. The succulent flavors of the salmon shone bright with each sip of the fruit forward, mineral-driven Vionta Albariño.

The Granbazan Etiqueta Verde Albariño 2016 ($21) was another delightful pairing from Granbazan, considered an “original quality pioneer in the region”. It was the first estate to invest in modern winemaking equipment and trained enologists, among other advances.  With each whiff of this brilliant Albariño, I was mesmerized with its refreshing notes of green grass, straw, yellow flowers, ripe pears, crisp green apples, and salinity. On the palate, lively acidity, white peaches, apricots, and juicy citrus worked in harmony to create balance and structure. The elegant finish lingered with a dry, almost briny mouthfeel, a delicious flavor sensation with the salmon and its sauce.

Grilled Citrus Salmon

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 1/2 fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 2 teaspoons chopped garlic
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon dried dill
  • 3 tablespoons capers, drained
  • 1 tablespoon fresh chopped basil or 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 2 dashes cayenne pepper
  • 3lb fresh salmon fillet (one large or individual pieces)

Directions

Step 1
Prepare a medium-hot fire in a charcoal grill or preheat a gas grill on high.
Step 2
In medium saute pan, melt the butter over medium heat. Stir in the olive oil, lemon juice, mustard, garlic, salt, dill, capers, basil and cayenne pepper. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes.
Step 3
Place salmon fillets on a large piece of heavy duty foil with the edges turned up to make a pan. Pour sauce evenly over fish. If using a gas grill, reduce all of the burners to medium heat.
Step 4
Place fish packets on grill and close grill cover. Cook for 10-12 minutes or until the salmon is flakey and light pink in the center.
Step 5
Serve with sauce spooned over the top. Can be served hot or at room temperature.
Step 6
NOTE: Salmon and sauce can be wrapped in foil and baked at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 15-20 minutes.

Cheers! ~ Cindy

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