Any Fin Goes

Published by Simon Huntington on 15/11/2018

Putting The Fish Society to the Test

We’ve partnered with The Fish Society to match six of their best-selling products, with six of our best wines for fish. To make sure that our wine pairings are up to scratch, Roberson staff put them to the test. Read on for the results….

If you'd like to try the wines yourself, a mixed case can be purchased now - use code FISH18 at checkout to save £31.

Dover Sole

Taster: Marion Adam

Recipe: Grilled with lime, coconut and avocado relish.

Wine Pairing: Moobuzz Chardonnay 2016

Fish Society Dover Sole with Californian Chardonnay

The tropical notes from lime, coriander, ginger, chili and toasted coconut flakes plus the creamy texture of the avocado relish added some weight and kick to the sole. It matched perfectly with the wine, a strong flavoured and oaky chardonnay and reinforced its citrusy aromas and the coconut notes from the barrel ageing. The recipe itself is done in 20 minutes, just grill the sole in the oven for about 3-4 minutes on each side with oil, peppercorn and salt. Combine the relish ingredients together (avocado, coconut flakes, red chili, ginger, lime and coriander). Serve with steamed coriander rice.

Scottish Scampi

Taster: David Adamick

Recipe: Pan-fried with lentils

Wine Pairing: Domaine des Cognettes, Muscadet Sèvre et Maine sur Lie 2017

Fish Society Scampi with Muscadet

Muscadet and scampi. Pretty convenient, really: you could say both, in fact, are of the sea. Good Muscadet – in this case the exceptional Domaine des Cognettes Sèvre & Maine sur Lie – should have that invigorating, sea air briskness on the nose; citrussy zest, oyster shell and a natural yoghurt-like, leesy character. On the palate more lemon/grapefruit zip with a pronounced, saline minerality and vibrant acidity, countered by more leesy richness. Put this with scampi’s delicate, sweet meat and the pairing is effortless: saline and sweet are natural partners whilst the former’s rich texture is met by the wine’s leesiness in equal measure.

So as far as the recipe goes, the trick was not to overwhelm the Muscadet by treating the scampi with too creamy a sauce or an Asian spice assault. I kept it far more local: gently pan-fried in butter, fennel seed, fresh, chopped parsley and garlic, the remnants of which then cut with fresh lemon juice and reduced. A slight browning of the butter did rather well to see to the wines leesy texture and when arranged on a bed of Puy lentil boiled in salted water, lemon juice, olive oil, garlic and bay leaf, mixed with a few, finely diced sun-dried tomatoes, the combination was harmonious. On the side to keep up the freshness and zip was a simple salad of finely sliced cucumber and red onion dressed with sea salt and lemon juice. Some capers in there would be happy. Scatter with more chopped parsley and some chilli flakes and you’re not complaining!

Black Cod

Taster: Jack Green

Recipe: Marinated in miso and grilled

Wine Pairing: Ebner-Ebenauer, Grüner Veltliner 'Bürsting' 2016

Fish Society Black Cod with Gruner Veltliner

Black Cod is one of the finest cuts of white fish available. Thanks to its high oil content, the flesh is incredibly buttery and soft. Its delicate flavour works beautifully with the sweetness of Miso paste, which in turn balances perfectly with the subtilties of Gruner Veltliner. I kept the cooking of this Black Cod simple, marinating the steaks in Miso paste for 24 hours then simply grilling the fish (skin side up) until nice and crisp. Served with sautéed potatoes and perfectly al dente Swiss Chard, finished with finely chopped garlic. Keep the roasting juices from the fish, add some butter and a touch of the water from the Swiss Chard and you’ll have a delicious jus to drizzle over the fish to round off the dish. The steely, rich dry white Gruner compliments the sweetness of the Miso and has enough acidity to cut through the oily flesh of the fish. A match made in heaven.

Caribbean Rock Lobster

Taster: Paul Williamson

Recipe: Served Newburg over toast

Wine Pairing: Domaine Guerrin, Mâcon-Vergisson 'Les Rochers' 2017

Fish Society Lobster Tail with Macon-Vergisson

Lobster Newburg is a delicious, luxurious dish that requires a strong wine to be matched with it. After removing the tail flesh from the shell of the Caribbean Rock Lobster, I then cut it into half inch medallions. I cooked these beautiful jewels of lobster in a stock of white wine and herbs before transferring to a gently bubbling pan of butter. To this I added a couple of glugs of Palo Cortado sherry, double cream and a beaten egg yolk to thicken. I then served this beautifully rich dish on some buttered sourdough. Domaine Guerrin’s Macon-Vergisson Les Rochers is the perfect match for this dish, the beautiful acidity cuts through the creamy sauce and the rich, fruity Chardonnay blends with the sweetness of the lobster to perfection. Pure indulgence.

fishRjumpin Smoked Scottish Salmon

Taster: Simon Huntington

Recipe: Served simply on farmhouse bread, with organic butter, black pepper and a squeeze of lemon juice.

Wine Pairing: Domaine Schaller, Chablis 2017

Fish Society Smoked Salmon with Chablis

Good quality smoked salmon is so delicious that it really doesn’t need much of a song and dance. The Fish Society taste-test each year, selecting only the best to go under their "fishRjumpin" own-label, so it certainly fits the bill. I layered slices of the salmon over some organic seeded farmhouse bread, spread thickly with top-quality unsalted butter, then ground some black pepper and squeezed some fresh lemon juice over the top.

Served as a dinner party canapé with Schaller’s Chablis, it was absolutely sublime. The lemony citrus zest of the Chablis cut like a laser through the butter, while its rounded, succulent mouthfeel balanced perfectly with the rich, unctuous texture of the fish. At the risk of sounding like a rude host, I admit helping myself to the lion's share of the canapé slate.

White Crab Meat

Taster: Lona Jones

Recipe: Shortcrust crab and leek tartlets

Wine Pairing: Crémant de Limoux, Les Graimenous, 2016

Fish Society Smoked Salmon with Chablis

In the search for perfect pairings you can’t go far wrong with creamy, Crémant de Limoux and homemade shortcrust leek and crab tartlets.

From an ancient sparkling wine appellation in a cool, high corner of southern France, this elegant crémant is a balance of zingy acidity, ripe apple and citrus flavours with honey notes from Chenin Blanc.

The tartlets are filled with crab claw meat mixed with eggs and crème fraîche, poured over a bed of softened leeks and sprinkled with a generous layer of Parmesan. Perfect as welcome nibbles for your guests, the tartlets will disappear at a rate of knots but paired with crémant they’re something to savour. The wine’s fresh acidity cuts through the cheese, bringing out the delicate crab flavours whilst the creaminess of the sparkling ‘mousse’ matches the crème fraîche filling. Crab, Christmas and crémant - game on!

If you'd like to try the wines yourself, a mixed case can be purchased now - use code FISH18 at checkout to save £31.

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Simon Huntington

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