Greek Baked Halibut with Tomatoes and Couscous

This is a typical Greek dish, enhanced by white wine and lemon, mellowed by Italy’s San Marzano tomatoes and finished with a drizzle of olive oil and briny dark Kalamata olives.

2 TBS olive oil
2 onions, thinly sliced
2 cloves garlic, pressed
2 carrots, grated
2 celery stalks, thinly sliced
1 cup dry white wine
Juice of 1 lemon
1 can San Marzano tomatoes, chopped in can with scissors
1/4 tsp sugar
2 TBS minced fresh parsley or 1 tsp dried parsley
1 TBS chopped fresh marjoram or 1/2 tsp dried marjoram
4 halibut fillets
Salt and pepper to taste
Couscous, cooked according to package directions
1 TBS olive oil and chopped Kalamata olives for garnish

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a large skillet, heat 2 TBS olive oil in a large skillet. Add onions and garlic. Cook 5 minutes until softened. Add carrots and celery. Sauté until softened, about 7 minutes.

Add wine. Cook 2 minutes or until reduced slightly. Add lemon juice and chopped tomatoes, sugar, parsley and marjoram. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low and simmer 20 minutes.

Spray a shallow ovenproof baking pan with cooking spray. Place fish in pan. Pour tomato mixture over fish. Season with salt and pepper.

Bake, uncovered, 35-45 minutes or until fish is tender. Serve immediately over couscous, sprinkled with 1 TBS olive oil and garnished with chopped Kalamata olives.

Serves 4

Gary: While the tomatoes and Kalamata olives could call for a red wine, they are not the main flavors in the dish and a white wine could very well pair with this course if it has some weight, texture and bright acidity. The piquant lemon, the white wine and the delicate flavor of the halibut suggests pairing with a white wine with lingering acidity to mellow the fish’s character, cut through the acid of the tomatoes and bring out the salt and dark nuances of the olives. Look for an Albariño, Verdejo or Garnacha Blanca from Spain, A Gavi, Arneis or Grecco from Italy, a Côtes du Rhône white from the south of France or a Assyrtiko from Greece. Also try a dry rosé from Provence, Lirac or Tavel as a marvelous new taste experience.

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