Dreams of summer days spent in Bandol drinking Mourvèdre will remain dreams for now. The Villa Creek La Boda, 2008 is the perfect Villa Creek wine to sip while concocting such a fantasy. A meal comprised of Grilled Whole Fish and treats from the garden almost mitigates the need for such a trip.
With the opening of an amazing seafood market in Templeton, Pier 46, we now have fresh local fish right at our fingertips. One of my favorite French influenced dishes is herb stuffed, salt crusted, grilled whole fish. Loup de Mer is my fish of choice of mainly because it is so fun to say but also because it is delicious! Picking the fish off the rather large bones is one of the joys of eating this creature whole. If you don’t like to get your hands dirty, navigate away now.
I visit the garden to find accompaniments. The thyme is full and leafy as is my butter cos lettuce. The chickens are laying like mad because of the longer days. I decide to serve homemade herbed aioli with my Loup du Mer. The butter cos lettuce tossed with fresh tarragon and dressed with a sherry garlic vinaigrette sounds good. Roasted yellow wax potatoes complete the meal.
What is pre meal kitchen time without a glass of crisp white? I pour myself a glass of the lovely Lavantureux Chablis, 2007 and proceed to stuff my fish. A nice fish market will clean the guts out of the fish making a nice cavity for stuffing. I rinse the dirt from my sprigs of thyme and oregano, and stuff them into the cavity. I generously salt the cavity then heavily salt the outside of the fish. Covering the fish with salt not only seasons it, but traps the moisture.
The lettuce is rinsed and torn, dressing made, aioli whisked and seasoned. I clean and slice the potatoes, toss them with olive oil and start them roasting. I roast the fish on the gas Weber set at medium, turning once, until the flesh looks done.
La Boda’s medium body, earth and herbaceous notes, and delicate cherry and blackberry perfectly complement the meal.
GRILLED WHOLE FISH
- 2 2lb Loup du Mer
- kosher salt
- olive oil
- a handful of fresh thyme
- a handful of fresh oregano