Monday, August 15, 2011

Fresh Seafood Medley of Cod Fillet, Shrimp, And Bay Scallops in a Turmeric Basil Marinade with Mushroom Risotto and Garlic Sautéed Brussels Sprouts Paired with 2009 Benziger Family Winery Sonoma Coast Wente Clone Chardonnay

Cod Shrimp and Scallops-1

Chef Sue and I were recently inspired by Anthony Bourdain (“No Reservations” on the Travel Channel) and Luke’s Lobster (see my recent post “Maine Lobster Roll from Luke’s Lobster Paired with 2008 Ledson Sonoma Coast Tres Frais Chardonnay”).  Let’s start with the Luke’s Lobster part of the inspiration.  In my post featuring a pairing of a Taste of Maine from Luke’s Lobster, I completely gushed about the simple elegance of the lobster roll, shrimp roll, and crab roll.  The application of condiments and flavors supporting the seafood was light handed and clearly designed to let the star of the show stand in the spotlight.  It was simple, and it was spectacular.

Cod Shrimp and Scallops

Now for the Anthony Bourdain part of the inspiration.  Chef Bourdain produced a series of episodes focusing on the history and future of El Bulli in Costa Brava Spain led by the incredible Chef Ferran Adria.  Chef Adria and his phenomenal work at the culinary Mecca of El Bulli are known for a lot of things – simplicity is not one of them.  With 50 course meals served in “The Best Restaurant in the World” at a meticulous pace and deft sequencing using Chef Adria’s research into molecular gastronomy, El Bulli is anything but simple.

In one of the episodes, Bourdain accompanies Chef Adria to his favorite coastal restaurant that features only seafood served fresh within hours of being caught.  This fresh flavors are further focused by simplicity in preparation with only minimal ingredients – olive oil, salt, pepper, lemon, and garlic.

The combined inspiration of Luke’s Lobster and Anthony Bourdain is clear; prepare seafood simply, with minimal ingredients, and let the flavor of the seafood shine.  The pairing featured in this post is Chef Sue’s interpretation of this challenge to present seafood in all it’s rich simplicity.  I have to admit that I planned to take a more literal translation of the Anthony Bourdain experience and limit myself to the seafood, olive oil, salt, pepper, lemon, and garlic.  Alas, it was the weekend, and it was Chef Sue’s cooking therapy time.  Check back soon to see my interpretation as our friendly kitchen competition rages on.

Shrimp and Bay Scallop Marinade-2

Although Chef Sue took a bit bolder approach than I had conceived, I am oh so happy she did.  This was a wonderfully balanced dish with layer upon layer of complimentary and contrasting flavors.  The umami filled mushroom risotto is the foundation layer.  Add to that the pleasant bitter flavors of the garlic sautéed Brussels sprouts, and finally the pinnacle of this pyramid; sweet shrimp and scallops marinated in olive oil, garlic, fresh squeezed lemon, ground turmeric, diced tomato, and finely chopped basil – surrounding a beautiful cod fillet broiled under a generous coating of the marinade.  In other words, we have a solid umami foundation, very mild bitterness from the Brussels sprouts and garlic to contrast with the delicate sweetness of the seafood, all balanced with the acid from lemon juice and tomatoes.  Simply brilliant.  As a side note, Chef Sue applied a deft hand with the addition of the turmeric to the marinade.  This addition was intended to add color rather than flavor.  She accomplished this with alacrity – great color, and only the slightest hint of added flavor.

2009 Benziger Family Winery Sonoma Coast Wente Clone Chardonnay-2

For the pairing, I selected a 2009 Benziger Family Winery Sonoma Coast Wente Clone Chardonnay from the dangerously low selection of white wines in the Corl wine vault (I will work on remedying this soon – subtle hint to the wine makers – send me something, I will work with it!).  Here are the tasting notes from Benziger:

“The southern end of Sonoma produces wines with crisp acidity and fresh citrus flavors. On the palate, the wine is supple and long, with a touch of oak and butterscotch cookie in the finish. Enjoy with fried calamari, scallops in a light curry sauce, crab cakes, filet of sole with almonds, or turkey Panini.”

2009 Benziger Family Winery Sonoma Coast Wente Clone Chardonnay

Our experience with the wine confirmed the bright citrus and crisp acidity which formed a perfect balance with the seafood.  Both Chef Sue and I translated the “butterscotch cookie” as more of a buttery flavor (probably a subtle distinction) which gave the sensation of pouring a perfect portion of clarified butter over the seafood – a natural combination.  The oak was subtle, pleasant, and did not detract from the wonderful layers of flavor mutually enhanced by the food and the wine.  In summary, the Benziger Chardonnay was a perfectly balanced compliment in all respects and achieved the “better than the sum of the parts” result we relentlessly pursue.  At $29, the 2009 Benziger Family Winery Sonoma Coast Wente Clone Chardonnay is a good value and can be ordered online at

Cod Shrimp and Scallops-2

Remember to check back soon to see my interpretation of simplicity applied to a seafood medley of cod fillet, shrimp, and bay scallops.  I’m pretty sure this will be another Chardonnay pairing with a focus on buttery flavors.  If you have a wine you would like to suggest for this pairing, let me know.


Garlic Sautéed Brussels Sprouts

Garlic Sauteed Brussel Sprouts

You don’t need me to tell you how to do this.  Clean some garden fresh Brussels sprouts, halve them, and sauté with olive oil, garlic, salt, and pepper.

Mushroom Risotto

Mushroom Risotto


  • 1 lb assorted fresh sliced mushrooms
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 3/4 cup Arborio rice
  • 1 clove minced garlic
  • 1 quart chicken broth
  • 1 ounce fresh grated parmesan cheese
  • 1 ounce fresh grated Romano cheese
  • 1 tablespoon fresh chopped chives
  • Salt and pepper to taste


  1. Sautee mushrooms and garlic in the olive oil and butter for two to three minutes.
  2. Add rice. Stir until center of rice looks like a pearl - translucent white
  3. Add chicken stock 1/4 cup at a time. Continue to add as the liquid evaporates
  4. Continue adding stock and stirring until rice is tender - you may not use all of the chicken stock.
  5. When rice is tender, stir in grated cheese.
  6. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  7. Garnish with chives.

Marinated Broiled Cod Fillet, Shrimp and Bay Scallops

Shrimp and Bay Scallop Marinade-1


  • One pound (mas o menos) cod filet
  • 1/2 pound fresh shrimp with heads on - cleaned
  • 1/2 pound fresh bay scallops
  • 6 fresh basil leaves
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 cloves minced garlic
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • Juice from 1/2 freshly squeezed lemon for marinade and other half for cod fillet.
  • 1 large tomato diced
  • Salt and pepper to taste


  1. Combine olive oil, basil, turmeric, and diced tomato in a bowl for marinating the shrimp and scallops
  2. Add shrimp and scallops to the marinade and toss to coat well
  3. Cover your broiling pan with tin foil with a few holes poked in it
  4. Broil cod and scallops first - 2 inches from broiler, covered with marinade and lemon juice
  5. After five minutes, add the shrimp and broil for another four minutes.

In vino veritas, buen provecho


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