Friday, September 9, 2016

Herbs, Bitter Greens, and Halibut Cheeks with Grüner Veltliner #WinePW

This weekend, the Wine Pairing Weekend crew - #WinePW on social media - is tasting, pairing, and enjoying Grüner Veltliner. This month Martin of ENOFYLZ Wine Blog is was hosting; read his invitation. And, then, you can join the conversation on Twitter on Saturday, September 10th, at 8am Pacific.

Unfortunately, Martin had a death in the family; so, he won't be live with us for the event. But Christy of Confessions of a Culinary Diva is updating the permalinks, David of Cooking Chat is pitching in with the Twitter chat questions, and Jeff of FoodWineClick is stepping in to host the chat. Gotta love this supportive community - though our thoughts and prayers are with Martin. It takes a village.

What the #WinePW Crew is Pouring...
 Click here for a list of past and future Wine Pairing Weekend events!

In My Glass...
Before this month, I was completely unfamiliar with Grüner Veltliner. But I am always happy to expand my palate and learn new things. So, thanks for the stretch, Martin.

Grüner Veltliner is a dry white wine that grows almost exclusively in Austria though you can find Grüners in Slovakia and the Czech Republic. With overwhelmingly savory flavors of bell pepper and lime, Grüner Veltliner is an exotic alternative to Sauvignon Blanc.

I was able to get my hands on three different Grüners this month.

Count Karolyi Grüner Veltliner is one of few from Hungary and I brought it with me to a dinner with friends. We paired it with our salad course. In the glass, Count Karolyi is pale yellow with a green hue. On the nose it has distinctly citrus aromas. And on the palate this wine develops attractive fruit flavors and has a pleasant, refreshing finish.

The second bottle I opened was the Grooner Grüner Veltliner from Austria. This was a crisp, grassy Grüner with a festive level of acidity and a touch of pepper. I paired this with a bitter green and herb salad. Recipe below.

The third one I found and tried was the Zocker Grüner Veltliner. This was the only Grüner I found from this country and it turned out to be from a vineyard not too far from me. The winemaker attributed the minerality to the coastal soils of the Paragon Vineyard.

I found this Grüner more rich and rounded than the others with a hint of ripe melon that played nicely with the strong pepper note. I paired this with grilled halibut cheeks in a citrus and herb-heavy Salmoriglio Sauce. Recipe below.

On My Plate: Part One
I decided to make two dishes. First, inspired by the bitter herb salad that I served in April's #WinePW event with Braised Boar Shanks, I decided on a variation of that dish for pairing with the Grooner Grüner Veltliner. To match the bite on the pepper, I asked one of my best friends for some of her allium blossoms. They added a nice, garlicky bite to the salad.

  • juice from 1 organic Meyer lemon
  • zest form 1 organic Meyer lemon
  • 3 to 4 T olive oil
  • freshly ground salt
  • freshly ground pepper
  • 2 C flat-leaf parsley
  • 1-1/2 C green and purple cabbage, thinly sliced with a mandolin
  • 1/2 C thinly sliced white and red endive leaves
  • 1/2 C small mint leaves
  • 1/4 C tarragon leaves
  • allium blossoms for garnish


In a small mixing bowl, whisk together the lemon juice, zest, and olive oil. Season with salt and pepper. In a large mixing bowl, toss together the herbs with the greens. Add the dressing, toss to coat, and garnish with the allium blossoms.

On My Plate: Part Two
Inspired by the salmoriglio sauce that I served in last week's #ItalianFWT event with Pesce Spada al Salmoriglio (Swordfish with Salmoriglio Sauce), I decided on a variation of that dish for pairing with the Zocker Grüner Veltliner.

 Ingredients serves 4

  • olive oil
  • 1 pound halibut cheeks
  • freshly ground salt
  • freshly ground pepper

Salmoriglio Sauce

  • 6 T olive oil
  • juice from 1 organic lemon
  • zest from 1 organic lemon
  • 1/4 C hot water
  • 6 T fresh Italian parsley, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed and minced
  • 2 T fresh oregano, chopped + more for garnish


Lightly brush halibut cheeks with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Heat your grill or grill pan and fish over medium heat. I cooked these for about a minute on each side. These are delicate pieces of fish, so don't overcook them!

Salmoriglio Sauce
Just before grilling the fish, place all of the sauce ingredients together in a medium saucepan and bring to a simmer. Keep warm.

To Serve
Spoon the salmoriglio sauce not a bowl and place the fish on top of the sauce. Garnish with fresh herbs. Sprinkle with more salt and pepper, if desired. Serve immediately.

Next Month
Jeff of FoodWineClick will be hosting a Merlot Pairings event on 10/8/16 in conjunction with #MerlotMe. Stay tuned for more information.


  1. I could only find one bottle here in Michigan and was happy I found that. Oh to live in Wine Country and near the ocean.....

  2. What a nice spread to try out Gruner! Your dishes look so tasty!

  3. The swordfish looks like such a great pairing! I'll be trying these recipes soon-with Gruner of course. Thanks!!

  4. That salad is gorgeous! And the swordfish looks tasty, too. Thanks for the inspiring recipes.

  5. I definitely think I had a bad bottle of that Grooner. It was not crisp or refreshing guess it's back to more research

  6. Wow, good job to go from not having tried Gruner to 3 different ones. Halibut cheeks--interesting, never heard of that.