Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Winning Combination with Whitehall Lane Sauvignon Blanc

The week before last, I attended a week-long class at the Culinary Institute of America at Greystone in St. Helena, CA - Food and Wine Pairing for Chefs. On the final day of the class, we had a "quick fire-style" competition. We were each given a bottle of wine, a protein item, and two hours to create a recipe that married the two. 

I received a bottle of Whitehall Lane Winery's '08 Sauvignon Blanc and sturgeon.  After tasting the wine and taking a walk through the schools herb garden, I created a recipe for bite-sized Sturgeon Tostadas with Melon Salsa.

Long story short, I was awarded the best-pairing of the competition!  Quite an accomplishment considering that the Culinary Institute of America is the premier culinary school in the country. I couldn't have been more proud. 

Whitehall Lane Winery is currently promoting the recipe at the winery and I wanted to share it with you too!  So, without further adieu, here is my award winning wine pairing recipe for

Sturgeon Tostadas with Melon Salsa 

Makes 24
1/2 honeydew melon, peeled and finely diced
1/2 c minced red onion
1 c minced red bell pepper
1/2 c chopped fresh cilantro
3 Tbsp fresh lime juice
1 Tbsp rice vinegar
1 tsp kosher salt
2 Tbsp finely minced lime zest, for garnish

2 tsp lime-infused olive oil*
2 sturgeon filets, each 6 to 8 oz., with skin removed**
salt and pepper, to taste

4 thin corn tortillas, each 6 inches in diameter
canola or peanut oil for frying
sea salt (optional)

In a medium mixing bowl, stir together the honeydew, red onion, red bell pepper and cilantro. Stir in the lime juice, rice wine vinegar and salt. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours before serving for best flavor.

To make the tostadas, stack the tortillas in 2 equal piles. Cut each pile into 6 pie-shaped wedges, or small circles. Note: If you decide to cut small circles, you may need additional tortillas to make 24.

Add oil to a deep fryer or heavy fry pan to a depth of at least 1 inch and heat to 375°F. Add the tortilla pieces a few at a time and fry, tossing them, until golden brown. Be careful not to let them darken or they will taste bitter. Lift out and drain on paper towels. Sprinkle with sea salt while still hot.

Preheat an oven to 450°F. Season the sturgeon filets with salt and pepper to taste. Heat lime olive oil in an oven-proof sauté pan over medium-high heat.

Add the filets and sear until the fish is pale gold, about 2 to 3 minutes. Turn the filets over and transfer the sauté pan to the oven and bake the filets until the flesh is opaque on the outside but still slightly translucent in the center, about 2 to 3 minutes. Cover loosely with aluminum foil to keep warm.

When you are ready to serve, slice the filets cross-wise into thin wedges. Top each tostada with a wedge of sturgeon, top with a small spoonful of melon salsa and sprinkle with lime zest. Pour your guests a glass of Whitehall Lane Sauvignon Blanc and enjoy!

*Note: Lime-infused olive oil is available in specialty stores. However, you can also make your own by adding lime zest directly to olive oil and heating the oil in a sauce pan on medium-low heat for 10 minutes.

**Note: If sturgeon is not available, swordfish or another firm white fish can be substituted.

Check out In Good Taste Wine Pairings for
additional wine-pairing recipes!

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