Pan roasted Alaskan halibut

Pan Roasted Alaskan Halibut with Caponata
Paired with Robert Mondavi Winery Fume Blanc 2014
Recipe By     :  Jeff Mosher, Robert Mondavi Winery
Serving Size  : 4     
Amount Measure Ingredient -- Preparation Method
4 Each 5 oz halibut steaks
½ Cup grapeseed oil, or other neutral oil
Salt and white pepper to taste
For the Caponata
1 pound eggplant, we use Japanese for its low seed count and mild flavor
1 each medium red onion
4 stalks celery
1 cup olives
½ pound cherry tomatoes
4 tablespoons grapeseed oil-for cooking the eggplant
6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
5 tablespoons red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons capers
2 tablespoons toasted pine nuts
½ cup basil leaves
salt and pepper to taste
About Caponata
Caponata is a Sicilian eggplant dish.  Today it is served as a vegetable side dish, but originally it was a fish and vegetable dish made with eggplant, celery, and squid.  The name comes from where it began.  It was served in the caupone, or taverns in the ports around the Sicilian coast.  The acidity in the dish makes  it a great pairing for a delicate fish like halibut.
Making the Caponata
Wash and slice the eggplant.  Heat the grapeseed oil and sauté the eggplant for three to four minutes until it is golden brown.  Transfer to a plate with paper towels to drain off the excess oil.
Slice the celery into ½ inch thick slices and blanch in salted water for 2 minutes.  Transfer to an ice bath to stop the cooking process.
Cut the cherry tomatoes in half.  Toast the pine nuts for 4 minutes at 350 degrees or until they have taken on a nice golden color.
Cut the onion into a small dice and sauté in the olive oil on low heat.  Add the olives, celery and eggplant.  Heats for approximately 2 minutes or until the vegetables are hot.  Then quickly, so as not to overcook the vegetables add the cherry tomatoes, basil, pine nuts, capers, red wine vinegar, and salt and pepper to taste.  Plate immediately.  
Pan Roasting the Halibut
Get a large sauté pan hot; add grapeseed oil to the pan.  Pat the halibut steaks dry with a paper towel, season with salt and pepper and place in the pan with the show side down.  Cook on the stovetop for 3 minutes to form a nice golden crust on the fish, then place in a 400-degree oven for 2-3 additional minutes.  If the fish is very thin you do not need to place in the oven.  Flip the fish over and cook for one more minute, basting with whole butter if you like.
While cooking the halibut get your caponata ready.  You can have the eggplant cooked ahead of time, and have the onions sautéed.  Put it all together as stated above in the method while the fish is cooking.
Divide the caponata onto four plates, making sure to get some of the vinegar and olive oil sauce onto the plates.  Place a piece of halibut on top of the caponata and garnish with additional basil leaves.  Serve with Robert Mondavi Winery Fume Blanc 2014 and let the flavors of summer vegetables dance on your palette.  
Bon appetite!
Wine Notes
The Robert Mondavi Winery Fume Blanc 2014 has bright fruit and a zesty acidity that goes wonderfully with the piquant flavor of the caponata. The vinegar and tomatoes in the dish bring the acidity in the dish up to the level of the wine which helps the fruit characteristic of the wine shine.  Also, the delicate nature of halibut needs a wine with low tannins and bright fruit, otherwise the fish may be overwhelmed.  Here the food and wine work together to coax the best flavors out of one another.
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