Monday, July 24, 2017

Cooking with Wine- Fish Piccata

You should always cook with a wine you would drink. Wise words, and truly, words to live by if you are like me and love cooking, love wine, and love cooking with wine. It's no secret to you guys that I am deeply in love with Riesling. Maybe it's my German DNA but there is something about that grape that just appeals to me. Big plus- unlike a lot of other whites, it's never aged in oak. I absolutely hate that oak flavor in wine, especially white. I've complained about that before so I won't rehash it all here. I grabbed an inexpensive Riesling recently, from the Fetzer winery, and it's great for cooking and amazingly drinkable.  

We've covered the wine many times before, so let's talk about something a lot more fun- grocery shopping. Not just any grocery shopping, we all know how much I HATE a boring trip to the supermarket, but fun grocery shopping, gourmet shops, ethnic markets, Trader Joe's, Whole Foods, small town grocery stores, you get the idea. In these kinds of stores I don't feel like I have to rush to get out. I like to take my time and check out all the unique items. At the supermarket, for example, they have balsamic vinegar. Might even have two brands. But at Gateway Market or Dean and Deluca they will have twenty different balsamic vinegars, and shelf after shelf of olive oil and all kinds of wonderful things. Olives? You guys know how I am about olives, right? I get in trouble at the olive bars. I'm an olive hoarder, and heaven help me if there is a bin of Peppadews on the bar........

The spice aisle is another danger zone for me. Right now in our kitchen there is a six foot tall shelf unit that is packed with spices. Literally packed. Peppers, herbs, spices, flavored salts, whole spices, ground spices, hot and spicy, smoky and sweet, spices for baking, spices for pickling. In spite of this enormous collection of delicious, I never fail to find something new when I'm browsing in the spice aisle. Maybe a new curry blend, or a new meat rub. It ends up in my basket.

The Chef is always crackling jokes about the pastas and grains we have accumulated in the pantry. There must be four different kinds of lentils in there. Wheat berries, bulgur, amaranth, teff, farro, a few different types of rice. Pastas. Lots and lots of pastas. The Chef is an Italian guy so of course we use a lot of pasta! I love collecting the unusual shapes that I don't find in the normal supermarket and use them for special recipes and pasta salads.

Of course no trip to a gourmet or specialty food store would be complete without at least a couple additions to our staples and condiments. You never know when you're going to need a tablespoons of capers, or a few anchovy fillets. Yes, I do need that many containers of cupcake sprinkles and absolutely we need eighteen different kinds of hot sauce.

Lately The Chef and I have been on a more healthy track when it comes to food. We still like an occasional "naughty" treat but for the most part it's been lean proteins like chicken, fish and lots of eggs, and tons and tons of fresh fruits and vegetables. This time of year there is everything under the sun available from farmstands to supermarkets. I'm going with one of my favorites, baby spinach, and some beautiful flounder fillets to make a deliciously light and flavorful version of one of my favorite Italian dishes, veal piccata. Briney capers and freshly squeezed lemon juice and a big splash of that beautiful Riesling will complete my dish. The Chef still needs his pasta, so I'm adding some buttered orzo, but you could easily swap that for rice or even quinoa or another grain for even more protein power.

The Sinful Food Garlic Olive Oil is the perfect oil for this dish. It adds a nice garlic flavor in the background without being overpowering. I think it makes the dish. You need to invest in this oil and you can get yours by clicking HERE.

Easy Fish Piccata with Wilted Baby Spinach

6-8 flounder fillets*
Signature Seasoning
2 teaspoons Sinful Food Garlic Olive Oil
1/3 cup Riesling
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 garlic cloves, chopped
1 tablespoon capers, drained thoroughly
2 tablespoons butter
1 package baby spinach, washed and dried
hot cooked buttered orzo for serving

*Use can use any light flaky fish you like, such as tilapia, sole, etc.

Pat the fish dry on both sides. Sprinkle with Signature Seasoning. Dredge the fillets in flour and shake off the excess.

Heat the olive oil in a nonstick skillet until hot. Add the fish and cook about 2-3 minutes per side, depending on thickness, until golden brown. Remove the fish to a plate and keep warm.

Add the garlic, wine, juice and capers to the skillet. Cook for a minute to blend flavors and soften garlic. Increase the heat to high. Stir the butter in until melted, then add the spinach. Cook until spinach is wilted.

To serve, place about 1/2 cup orzo on plate, top with about 1/3 cup spinach, then the fish. Serve with sauce spooned over and additional lemon wedges.

This is the first time I've ever cooked flounder, and to my memory may even be the first time I've ever eaten it. I can assure you, it will not be the last! The flounder was probably the best tasting fish I have ever had. Zero "fishy" taste, and while that sounds almost silly, most people know what I mean. I purchased the frozen fillets at Aldi and they were quick to thaw, individually packed, had zero bones- just delicious. I am definitely going to stock up on flounder- can't wait to try it in things like fish tacos, stuffed fillets, etc.

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