It’s been quite a while since my last wine night post! After lots of summer travel, my husband and I have enjoyed two weekends with little or nothing on our agenda, and I jumped at the opportunity to enjoy a relaxing Wine Night at home.
I recently joined a CSA, largely because I am excited to be “challenged” to come up with creative uses for the vegetables I receive in my share each week. I have gotten into a routine of veggie shopping, so I am looking forward to branching out with the help of my CSA share. First challenge: fennel.
I had made (and enjoyed) a fennel-lemon compote for a wine pairing before, so when I received two fennel bulbs, I decided to try it again. The cookbook suggested sole, but I decided to use halibut. Any white fish would work well!
Serves 3 – 4
- 2 bulbs fennel, about 1 lb each
- 2 Tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 cup white wine vinegar
- Zest of 1 lemon, finely grated
- Juice of 1 lemon
- 2 teaspoons sugar
Trim the stalks and feathery fronds from the fennel bulbs, discarding the stalks and reserving the fronds.** Cut the bulbs in half lengthwise, and then cut crosswise into slice 1/4 inch thick.
In a saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter. Add the fennel slices and the salt and saute until the fennel is lightly browned, 3 – 4 minutes. Add the vinegar, lemon zest and juice, and sugar and toss with the fennel until evenly distributed. Reduce heat to low and cook until the fennel is very soft, 5 – 6 minutes. Serve immediately.
**Note: Reserved fennel fronds can be used as you would use any herb. The taste is slightly “licorice”-like, and the texture is similar to dill. I used the leftover compote and fronds to make fennel hummus.
The halibut was served with roasted new potatoes (also from my CSA share) and green beans (from a different farm at the market).
And now for the wine! Light fish and lemon are the perfect match for a crisp white. We decided to try Muscadet, a French wine we had never tasted before.
Muscadet is a crisp white wine from France. This bottle was labeled “sur lie”, meaning it has been left in contact with the lees (or dead yeast cells), which lends flavor and complexity. This bottle was quite earthy for a white, with only a hint of fruit in the finish.
The wine was lightly golden with a touch of green. It smelled crisp and slightly sweet, with notes of grass and stone. It was a bit effervescent, with notes of vanilla, mineral, and a touch of green apple and lime.
All in all, a lovely pairing and a delicious meal!