Kale Pesto Tilapia is light and healthy dish to enjoy this spring along with a white wine from the Southern Rhone. Sharing as part of the Wine Pairing Weekend visit to the region.
Red wine comes to mind when I first think of the Rhone. But Jill from L’occasion asked us to pair a spring meal with a Southern Rhone wine, for today’s Wine Pairing Weekend (#winePW) event. That started me thinking about dishes that would pair with a white Rhone wine.
I had a couple of spring recipes on my things to make and blog list last weekend that I thought might pair well with a white Rhone. I decided to make them the same night and plate together. Today I’ll share the Kale Pesto Tilapia recipe, stay tuned next week for the Orecchiette with Peas and Sweet Onions.
The orecchiette dish actually probably has a strong claim to being a spring recipe than the Kale Pesto Tilapia, as it features the sweet Vidalia style onions that start rolling into grocery stores around now. And peas are an early spring crop. But the kale pesto for the tilapia can easily be made year round, one reason I make it more now that traditional basil pesto. Yet I think a case can be made for the Kale Pesto Tilapia as a spring dish–it is light and has a deep green hue.
Tilapia is a mild fish on its own, so it really lets the vibrant pesto flavors shine. I must say, the idea of cooking pesto with tilapia is not my original thought. I did a guest post for Whole Foods Real Families where I made their tilapia with basil pesto, and paired it with a Pinot Gris. Adapting their recipe for kale pesto seemed like a natural next step.
Rhone Wine Pairing for Kale Pesto Tilapia
Sure, I love a big Rhone red from Châteauneuf-du-Pape as well as a simple red Cotes du Rhone. But white Rhone wines are really worth trying, too, and I think they are especially suitable for spring with their fresh, vibrant flavors.
I went with the 2014 Chateau Mourgres Du Gres Galets Dorés ($15, 14% ABV) for our Kale Pesto Tilapia. This wine is from Costieres de Nimes, which is an AOC in the southwestern part of the Rhone region. It used to be considered part of the Languedoc, but the wines were more in keeping with the Rhone character, thus it is now designated a Rhone wine.
The Galets Dorés is fresh on the nose, and I first tasted kiwi and melon. This wine also has a mineral undertone that I didn’t note until eating with the tilapia, which really enhanced the pairing. I was definitely pleased with the way this wine paired with the kale pesto tilapia, and it also worked well with the orecchiette on our plates.
This wine is made from a blend of Grenache Blanc, Roussanne and Vermentino. The first two grapes are typical for a white Rhone; Marsanne would be a more typical third grape in a white Rhone blend. I think of Vermentino as an Italian grape, but it is not uncommon for it to be in the mix in this region, too.Print
Kale Pesto Tilapia
Tilapia bakes with kale pesto for an easy, flavorful and healthy fish recipe.
- Prep Time: 15 mins
- Cook Time: 18 mins
- Total Time: 33 mins
- Yield: 3 servings 1x
- Category: Main
- Cuisine: Fusion
- 4 cups tightly packed kale leaves, stems removed
- 3 garlic cloves
- 2 tbsp pumpkin seeds, lightly toasted
- generous pinch red pepper flakes
- salt and pepper to taste
- ½ cup grated parmesan cheese
- ⅔ cup extra virgin olive oil
- 3 tilapia filets
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
- Make the kale pesto: Add the kale and garlic to a food processor, coarsely chopping to create enough room for the other ingredients. Next add the pumpkin seeds, red pepper flakes, salt and pepper, cheese, and olive oil, and puree until it comes to a nice smooth consistency. Set the pesto aside.
- Rinse the tilapia filets and pat dry. Place the tilapia on a baking sheet, and scoop a heaping tablespoon of pesto onto one of the filets. Spread the pesto out to cover the filet, and repeat with the other filets. You will have extra pesto to set aside for another use.
- Bake the tilapia for about 18 minutes. That time worked out just right for me but check for doneness around 15 minutes to avoid overcooking. The fish should flake easily and no longer be translucent. Remove from oven when done, and serve with your side dishes of choice, and a white wine. We recommend a Rhone blend.
Wine Pairing Weekend with Rhône Pairings for Spring
Check out all the tasty spring pairings with Rhone wines from the Wine Pairing Weekend bloggers!
- Jeff from Food Wine Click: Rabbit and Rhône
- Nancy from Pull That Cork: Scallops, Spring Veggies + a White CDP for #winePW
- Camilla from Culinary Adventures with Camilla: Braised Boar Shanks With Bitter Herb Salad + Vacqueyras Beaumirail
- David from Cooking Chat: Kale Pesto Tilapia with Wine from Southern Rhône (you are here!)
- Martin from Enofylz Wine Blog: A Tavel Paired with Spring BBQ #WinePW
- Meaghan from Un Assaggio: Grilled Rack of Lamb + Arnoux & Fils Vieux Clocher #winePW
- Cindy from Grape Experiences:Wine and Dine: Rosé from Costières de Nîmes and Rack of Lamb with Rosemary
- Sarah and Tim from Curious Cuisiniere: Escalivada (Spanish Roasted Vegetables) paired with South Rhône Rosé
- Wendy from A Day in the Life on the Farm: Wine Pairing Weekend Celebrates Spring
- Michelle from Rockin Red Blog: Springtime in Southern Rhône with #WinePW
- Kristen from The Armchair Sommelier: The High Crime ofMushroom Substitution
- Jill of L’Occasion: Welcome Spring with Fresh Food & Le Ferme Du Mont Côtes du Rhône
For a list of past and upcoming #winePW event, visit the Wine Pairing Weekend calendar here. We’d love to have you online with us!
I love reading your posts David. You are so knowledgeable about wines and you share that knowledge well enough that even a novice like I can follow.
thanks for the kind feedback, Wendy!
Love the bright fresh flavors of this dish! Adapting the pesto to be made with Kale is a great idea, will definitely try. The wine pairing sounds fantastic – it is always interesting when food draws out something in the wine that you didn’t taste before.
Sounds like the perfect pairing. I love it when the flavors together gain complexity over the individual flavors. It is so nice to see a white wine pairing as well, they’re sometime overlooked for red wines.
Camilla @ Culinary Adventures
David, while I am not a huge fan of tilapia, I will try this preparation with another white fish. Thanks for sharing!
Great dish and pairing David! Cheers!
Looks like a lovely spring food and wine pairing David!
I look sooo forward to making this dish (and getting the scoop on the orichette which I just made for the first time for Puglia night).
I love the wine name, Galets Dorés…the galets are such an interesting natural component of Rhône winemaking.
Thank you so much! This was such fun & my pleasure to host!
Orecchiette is definitely a fun pasta shape, and a good wine to go with it. Thanks for hosting, Jill!
What a beautiful spring meal!
The Armchair Sommelier
I rather like kale, but I can’t get anyone in my family to eat it. Will definitely try this the next time I find myself dining solo at home . . . Cheers!
kale pesto can be a good way to sway kale skeptics!
David this looks so delicious! And the perfect wine to pair with it! Just the thing for a nice romantic dinner this weekend while my son is away!
Thanks Nikki! Good idea to take advantage of that opportunity!
Karl T Schultz
Love this healthy recipe! Great hot on tilapia. Great cold on toast points. A great recipe for those who find the taste of kale too strong. THANKS!
Thanks Karl! Glad you liked it, good idea for serving it cold.