Eight ingredients. That's all it takes to make an entire meal from scratch. Add in a good bottle of wine for less than $20, and you've got a weeknight feast for family or friends. That's the philosophy behind our "8 & $20" feature. We hope it adds pleasure to your table.
Serving fish en papillote (wrapped in parchment and baked in the oven) is a great party trick when it comes out all puffed up and steaming and dramatic at the table, but perhaps a little too involved for a Tuesday night, what with assembling it all and folding the parchment paper just so for each portion. Using the same principles—steaming fish over vegetables and wine—but in one covered saucepan on the stove is a great compromise.
Here, striped bass is gently cooked atop a bed of shiitake mushrooms and cabbage (and done before you’d even have the first fish en papillote ready for the oven). A garnish of sliced radishes and chopped parsley adds a clean and bright accent to the earthy vegetables.
Winewise, look for a white with a strong citrus component and herbal notes to match the dish. An aromatic Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand locked in nicely with the lemon flavors, but ultimately was too overpowering for the food. A Chardonnay from California was fine enough but a Pinot Gris from Oregon proved to be the winning match. With the food, the wine got more complex, developing appealing spice and fresh herb flavors.
Pair with a dry Pinot Gris from Oregon, such as Adelsheim Pinot Gris Willamette Valley 2009 (90 points, $19)
Total Time: 25 minutes
Approximate Food Cost: $45
1. In a large saucepan, heat 1 tablespoon of cooking oil over medium-high heat until shimmering, around 30 seconds. Add the onion and cook until just softened, around 1 minute, then add the mushrooms and continue cooking until they begin to release their water, around 3 minutes. Add the cabbage and the potatoes and continue to cook until soft, around 3 minutes. Adjust the seasoning with salt.
2. Add the wine to the pan with the vegetables and stir gently. Season the fish with salt and a dash of olive oil. When the wine comes to a boil, reduce the heat to a simmer, and place the four pieces of fish directly onto the cabbage and shiitake mixture. Cover the pan and cook until the fish is done, around 5 to 7 minutes. Divide evenly on four plates and garnish with sliced radishes and parsley and a wedge of lemon. Serves 4.
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