It can be tough to motivate myself to cook new things while Lav is still in the Bay Area. Cooking for one person is a bummer. I'm also surprised how much I miss using my knives, pots and pans, stove and gadgets (I should have brought the immersion blender) from home... it's easy to take all the fancy tools for granted. But I've got some great options for grocery stores and markets nearby, with a brand new Whole Foods about 6 blocks away and Pike's Place easily accessible for an early morning weekend food run... so there's really no excuse for lack of inspiration.
My current favorite market is the Metropolitan Market in Queen Anne. The place is immaculate, with some nice looking produce and a fresh selection of meats and fish... kinda like a slightly smaller version of Berkeley Bowl, but without the mobs.
I picked up a beautifully pristine piece of halibut to make a dish I've been wanting to make: crispy halibut in a red wine reduction. Maybe not the most intuitive pairing, but it seemed to me that even with the delicate flavor of halibut, its texture could showcase an intensely concentrated pan sauce without being overwhelmed.
My first thought was to use a bright, fruit-forward pinot noir, but I ended up using a simple village-style Cotes du Ventoux from Chateau Saint-Sauveur for its more muted fruit profile. I added some chicken stock and a splash of soy sauce for balance, a bit of honey for roundness and body, and a tiny pat of cold butter at the end for the sheen. The purple potatoes matched nicely with their unique intrinsic sweetness, and also helped bridge the color contrast between the stark white of the plate and the halibut with the deep brownish burgundy of the sauce. Sauteed spinach would have completed this dish really well...
Exciting things happening here at Fifth Flavor; we're going to have our first guest blog entry this week! Stay tuned; it's gonna be good.