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CSA-Inspired: Whole Roasted Rockfish with Tomatillo Sauce + Seabold Cellars' 2021 Siletto Aligoté #CookLocalEatLocal #WinePW

This month the Wine Pairing Weekend Bloggers are taking a CSA Challenge and pairing produce from a local, organic farm - either through a CSA subscription or a farmers' market stand - with a bottle of wine. I am hosting the group this month; you can read my invitation here

Also this month, actually, this week, I was a guest on the Cook Local, Eat Local podcast hosted by the Wine Pairing Weekend's founder David Crowley of Cooking Chat. The episode went live today and you can listen to it here

We talked about what was in his CSA share last week, some recipes I would make with the veggies, and a wine pairing for the dishes. I can't wait to see what the other #WinePW bloggers share for this event.

If you are reading this early enough, feel free to jump in on our live Twitter chat on Saturday, August 13th at 8am Pacific. Follow the hashtag #WinePW and be sure to add it to anything you tweet so we can see it. Here's the group's line-up...

 Whole Roasted Rockfish with Tomatillo Sauce

In one of our other groups, we asked the question: Did you pick the wine first? Or the food pairing? Typically, I pick the wine to fit the theme, then I decide what to make alongside it. But, in this case, I was working with what was in David's CSA share last week. You can read a little bit more about that in my post: Seared Summer Squash Topped with Fresh Corn Salad.

David asked if I would share some information about tomatillos: how to tell when they are ripe, how to store them for use in a few days or up to a couple of weeks, and one recipe suggestion. Done! Just like the corn-tomato salad, I wanted to showcase the CSA veggie as fresh as possible and decided to share a fresh tomatillo sauce. Many recipes have you roast the tomatillos first, but when they are at peak freshness, I love using them raw. This is easily halved if need be; adjust based on how many tomatillos you have.

Ingredients serves 6 to 8

  • 3 pounds of whole fish (I used local, wild-caught rockfish), scaled and gutted
  • 1 or 2 onions, peeled and thinly sliced
  • fresh cilantro
  • salt
  • olive oil
  • Also needed: baking sheet, parchment paper

Tomatillo Sauce
  • 1 pound tomatillos
  • 2 bunches fresh cilantro
  • 1/2 cup pickles (I used a combination of pickled jalapeños and pickled cucumbers)
  • juice from the pickles, as needed
  • salt to taste
  • Also needed: blender or food processor


Tomatillo Sauce
Place the tomatillos, pickles, and roughly chopped cilantro the the blender. Add in 1 Tablespoon of pickle juice. 

Blitz until smooth. Add more pickle juice as needed. Season to taste with salt. Set aside.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Salt the inside of the fish and stuff the cavity with onions and cilantro. Place the fish on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet. Drizzle the fish with olive oil and scatter with remaining onions.

Place in the oven and roast for 20 minutes. The fish is done when the flesh if firm and opaque.

To serve, pour tomatillo sauce on a serving platter. Place fish on top of the sauce. Sprinkle
 with more cilantro and serve immediately.

Seabold Cellars' 2021 Siletto Aligoté

As I already mentioned, for this pairing, I picked the dish first. The wine came second. I contacted my friend at Seabold Cellars and told her what I was making and asked for her recommendation. She talked to the winemaker and they let me know that their 2021 Aligoté would be great with both the fish and tomatillo sauce as well as the seared squash side dish. When I asked why this was the wine to pair, she said that they wanted a fun white wine that wasn't too weighty. And the Aligoté had a brightness that would match the Summer produce well. They were right!

Seabold Cellars is a local-to-me winery that was started in 2014. Owner and winemaker is Master Sommelier Chris Miller. Seabold's approach is hands-off as much as possible; they produce non-interventionist wines with site-specific Burgundy and Rhône varieties seen through a California lens. The grapes he sources are organic and sustainably farmed.

Have you heard of Aligoté? I hadn't. Come to find out that while it is used to produce a single varietal wine, it is more commonly included in the blended Burgundian sparkling wine known as Crémant de Bourgogne. Aligoté lends an acidity and structure to other varieties and is the second more popular white wine grape grown in Burgundy...second to Chardonnay though there is a huge disparity between the hectares planted of Chardonnay and of Aligoté. It's almost 1 to 10!

These particular Aligoté were grown in the Siletto Vineyard just north of Hollister.

Harvested by hand, the grapes were lightly pressed. After settling for 24 hours, the wine was racked into neutral barriques for a native yeast fermentation. Bottling occured after 8 months in the barrel.

The wine poured a bright pale straw color. On the nose I noted lemon zest, green apples, and a hint of jasmine. On the palate, there were all of those notes along with more herbaceous qualities and hints of bitter almonds.

Though bright and light, this Aligoté was wildly complex. It was the perfect wine for the fish. Many thanks to Seabold for the expert pairing!

That's a wrap for my August #WinePW offering. We will be back in September with a back-to-school theme. Robin of Crushed Grape Chronicles is hosting and asked us to pick a topic that teaches something about wine. I can't wait to put my thinking cap on decide what to share. Truth be told, though, most of the time I just do the learning in these groups...not the teaching. We'll see how it goes. Stay tuned!


  1. Looks great! The tomatillo sauce is fairly similar to the salsa I wound up making. Based on your suggestions about using tomatillos fresh, that is how I used them in the salsa.

    1. I'm glad you tried a fresh tomatillo salsa. It's so different from a cooked one, isn't it?

  2. Your pairing sounds wonderful! I'd like to say finding a varietal bottling of Aligote from CA is a surprise, but CA is the wild, wild west when it comes to wine. If you want to make it...knock yourself out! I haven't made a tomatilla sauce in years! Your recipe looks great1

  3. It all sounds gorgeous! I love the sound of that wine. Like Martin said, CA is just such a fascinating free-for-all in grape varieties!


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