“Cooking with wine is a balancing act that is well worth the exploration,” says wine expert Claudia Perry, the former wine and spirits columnist for the Star Ledger newspaper in Newark, N.J., and Uncorked, a digital wine magazine. The African American journalist adds one piece of advice when using wine in recipes. “Under no circumstances cook with a wine you wouldn’t drink,” she says, adding, “Whether you’re enhancing robust or delicate flavors with wine additions, the quality of the wine you use matters.” And what about substitutions for those who can’tcook with wine for medical or personal reasons? “Once again, think balance,” says Perry. With sweet or savory dishes, use fruit juice as a wine substitute carefully. Add grape, cranberry, apple or even pomegranate juice, depending on the recipe. Just make sure the juice is unsweetened.
2 teaspoons fennel seed
1 teaspoon each, dried: dill weed, thyme leaves
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
2 pounds grouper fillets
2 tablespoons each: olive oil, dry white wine
Toast fennel seeds in a small dry skillet over medium heat until aromatic, about 30
seconds. Remove from skillet to avoid over-toasting. Crush seeds in a small bowl with
mortar and pestle or crush with a rolling pin. Mix with dill, thyme, salt and pepper.
Rub spice mixture evenly on both sides of fillets. Drizzle with 1 tablespoon of
Heat remaining 1 tablespoon of oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high
heat. Add fillets. Cook, turning once, until lightly browned on each side, about 4 to 5
minutes per side. Stir in white wine; cook 1 minute. Transfer to a platter; drizzle any
remaining skillet drippings over fish.
Makes 8 servings.
Words: Donna Pierce