Today we serve Grilled Halibut with Wine from Abruzzo. This is the first in a series of articles following my recent participation in a press trip sponsored by the Consorzio Tutela Vini D’Abruzzo.
After spending a week sampling some wonderful wine in Abruzzo, Italy, I was eager to try some Abruzzo wine pairings upon my return home. Today we share our grilled halibut with wine from Abruzzo, one of the first pairings I have come up with for Abruzzo wine.
Seafood in Abruzzo
Abruzzo is a region in Italy on the Adriatic coast, about 2 1/2 hours due east of Rome. If you land in Rome as I did, you will see some breathtaking mountains and valleys as you cross the Apennines on your way to Abruzzo.
With its proximity to the sea, there is a lot of good seafood to be enjoyed in Abruzzo. Our final night in Abruzzo we ate in a trabocco, a traditional Italian fishing pier converted to a restaurant. After admiring the amazing sunset shown below, one course after another of seafood rolled out of the kitchen.
Octopus, squid and anchovies featured prominently at that meal and others we had in Abruzzo. We also enjoyed mussels, shrimp and other shellfish during our stay. There was also a dish featuring white fish cooked with peas that I enjoyed.
Grilled Halibut with Wine from Abruzzo
I tend to cook dishes inspired by a certain region or cuisine, rather than trying to recreate the authentic recipes. I definitely wanted to feature seafood with some Abruzzo wine here, so when I saw halibut on sale the other day I decided to grab some.
I was traveling light, so I only brought back one bottle of wine from Abruzzo, with plans to track down more. As we wrapped up our tasting at Marchesi De Cordano in the Pescara province of Abruzzo, our host kindly offered to let us choose a bottle to take home. Although Cordano produces some very good Montepulciano d’Abruzzo, I was very impressed with their lineup of white wine.
I chose a bottle of the 2017 Brilla Cococciola (13% ABV) from Marchesi De Cordano. Cococciola is a white wine grape from Abruzzo, which can also be found in other Italian regions on the Adriatic coast. I enjoyed Cococciola with the seafood in Abruzzo, so we had the makings of grilled halibut with wine from Abruzzo theme.
I decided to top some grilled halibut with kale pesto. I was very pleased with the way this halibut recipe paired with the Brilla Cococciola! This wine has a fresh, flowery nose, with lemon fruit taste and notes of almond. The Cococciola is medium bodied, a nice match for the halibut fish. The crispness of the wine is a nice contrast to the bite of the kale pesto. I give this halibut with wine from Abruzzo pairing an “A” grade for sure!
I also enjoyed a glass of this Brilla with some prosciutto and other antipasti while cooking. We managed to get two nights out of this bottle, and it also paired well with easy sautéed shrimp.
You could certainly enjoy a similar pairing by swapping in other white fish and/or topping the fish with traditional basil pesto.
Stay tuned for more Abruzzo wine pairings along with details from the trip!Print
Grilled Halibut with Kale Pesto
Grilled halibut topped with a zesty kale pesto for a healthy entree from the grill. Excellent paired with a white wine from Abruzzo, Italy.
- Prep Time: 15 mins
- Cook Time: 10 mins
- Total Time: 25 mins
- Yield: 4 servings
- Category: main
- Method: grilling
- Cuisine: Italian
For the kale pesto
- 4 cups tightly packed kale leaves, stems removed
- 3 garlic cloves
- 2 tbsp pumpkin seeds, lightly toasted
- salt and pepper to taste
- ½ cup grated parmesan cheese
- ⅔ cup extra virgin olive oil
For the halibut
- 1 lb halibut fillet
- 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 1/2 tsp dried basil
- 1/2 tsp garlic powder
- pinch salt
- Make the kale pesto: Add the kale and garlic to a food processor, coarsely chopping to create enough room for the other ingredients.
- Add the pumpkin seeds, salt and pepper, cheese, and olive oil, and puree until it comes to a nice smooth consistency. Set kale pesto aside.
- Prepare the halibut: Preheat a grill to medium high heat. Combine the 2 tablespoons olive oil, dried basil, garlic powder and salt in a large bowl. Rinse and pat dry the halibut fillet, then dip the flesh side of the fish in the oil mixture, then let the fillet rest in the bowl skin side down.
- After the grill is heated and the halibut has marinated for about 5 minutes, spray the grill with cooking oil and place the halibut on the grill.
- Grill the halibut on one side for 4 to 5 minutes, then carefully turn the fish over to cook on the other side for about 5 minutes. The halibut is done when cooked through and it flakes easily. Total cooking time will vary based on thickness of the halibut, likely to range between 10 to 12 minutes total grilling time.
- When the halibut is done cooking, remove from grill to a platter. Portion the halibut into serving sizes, and plate the fish. Top each piece of halibut with about 1 tablespoon of the kale pesto. Enjoy!
- This recipe will generate extra kale pesto. You can use the extra to toss with some pasta as a side dish, or save it for future use.
- When turning the halibut, some of the skin may stick to the grill. If that is the case, just place the halibut in a clean area of the grill and scrape the skin off the grates later.
More Halibut with Wine Pairing Ideas
Want some other ideas for halibut with wine pairing? I’ve posted another halibut and wine pairing that worked well, and also rounded up some ideas from some of my fellow Wine Pairing Weekend bloggers:
- I tried my hand with grilled halibut previously, serving Grilled Halibut with Parsley Pesto and a Rosato.
- Culinary Adventures with Camilla paired Roasted Halibut with Grapefruit Fennel Salsa and a Sauvignon Blanc
- The Swirling Dervish paired Roasted Halibut with Grapefruit Fennel Salsa and a Sauvignon Blanc.
- On Always Ravenous, you can findRoasted Halibut with Grapefruit Fennel Salsa and a Sauvignon Blanc
Have you found another halibut and wine pairing combination that worked for you? Please let me know in the comments!