Thursday, July 8, 2010

#95 - Sea Bass On White Bean & Garlic Purée With '08 Orballo

We should eat more fish.

So we did.

And I told you that the Orballo Albariño is a great wine to have around and pop anytime.

We did and we did.

Food: Greek-style sea bass and marinated tomatoes with a white bean and baby garlic purée, watercress and parsley with bread and butter

Whole Foods Chilean sea bass stuffed with garlic, lemon, thyme sprigs, salt and pepper and pan-seared to a golden brown. Great fish flavor, better than expected. Not cheap ($22) but it has an oiliness and fleshy quality that stands up to bigger flavors, better than tilapia or something of that ilk. We should eat more fish.

Marinated tomatoes done in olive oil, vinegar, chili, oregano, minced onion and salt and pepper. The tomatoes informed the wine pairing. With a white fish flavored a little more aggressively and tomatoes, we went back and forth, settling on something with a bigger acidity and more rough and tumble. We're glad we did but the fish and tomato combo turned out to be a bit more versatile than we originally thought. Could have gone in a bunch of directions and been fine (except maybe a sweet riesling).

A very recent Mark Bittman recipe from the New York Times.

Mrs. Ney bought some baby garlic scapes. Originally, she was going with a sort of potato salad but switched up to a white bean and baby garlic purée (another very recent New York Times recipe) to serve under the fish. Charred garlic scapes, cannellini beans, olive oil, lemon juice, coarse sea salt and pepper thrown in the food processor. Turned out to be the thing that made the meal. A bite of fish, purée and tomato was flat-out delicious. We should eat more fish.

A watercress and parsley salad that tasted like geraniums, weeds and menthol Red Man had a baby. In a good way. Maybe too much on the plate but good stuff.

It was a meal that will make us eat more fish. Even this exact recipe.

Wine: 2008 Orballo Albariño Rías Baixas ($18 - WDC)

Showed the same as three months ago.

Nice minerals with tons of lemon rind and big, big acidity. Not a simple wine. Some depth here with maybe a pear core (and a little canned pineapple juice) hiding underneath with something like a creamy almond. Not fine minerals here either. More like Mrs. Ney's description of the roots sitting on a big, sulfurous rock. It's exactly what we like about albariño. Big, bold and a little raw with a few surprises along the way.

Estate-bottled, which is relatively rare for Rías Baixas, worth the few extra dollars and our favorite albariño right now.

Pairing: 90 Surprisingly, it was the garlic and not the tomatoes that brought the pairing goodness

With a fish-purée-tomato bite, the wine showed beautifully, mostly by remaining to be itself and offering a lift and cleansing of the food in the mouth and down the throat.

But with a bigger bite of the garlic purée, the top coat of lemon rind was stripped away, revealing more on that pear and canned pineapple juice core with tons of minerals while maintaining its acidity. I like the overt lemon quality in this one, but with it gone, the Orballo became even more intriguing, offering some previously unseen finesse.

We could have had a rosé of sangiovese, which might have been interesting. We thought about a more oily wine like a Jurançon which, upon reflection, might have been iffy.

In the end, bringing a ton of acidity was essential. But that's about it. This meal seemed to be more versatile than we originally thought.

But when we eat more fish, which we should, it's going to be tough to not drink Orballo with it.

It's that good.

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