Fennel Hinted Red Wine Sauce

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I start out this morning thinking I was going to cook some ahi tuna for dinner. Ya know, something I’ve done a bunch of times, not too much thinking involved. Then, about 4pm my darling dear husband calls and tells me he bought steelhead from Costco today!  Switch gears girlfriend! So I was thinking, hmm, fish, red wine, something different to expand my repertoire. Resulted in a epicurious.com search for salmon and red wine. Inspired by the results = tonight’s dinner! Lucky for me, I already had 1/2 a head of red cabbage left over from a previous culinary adventure.

I also used a bit of Sparrow Lane Balsamic Vinegar. Why is it so special? Barrel aged and getting better and better over time is only part of the reason I love it. One holiday, my Dad gave some extra wonderful Spanish Olive Oil and this bottle of Sparrow Lane Balsamic Vinegar. The olive oil is long gone. But this vinegar I have been holding onto it, using it with discretion. Dad has been gone a few years now — which in itself is so hard to believe. But, when I touch the bottle, I feel his presence. Always working on hearing him say “you got a good fix”… I think he would have enjoyed tonight’s meal. Thanks Dad!

Columbia Crest Merlot-Cabernet Savignon, Balsamic Vinegar, Chicken Stock
Steehead with Fennel Hinted Red Wine Sauce over red cabbage and onions.

Fennel Hinted Red Wine Sauce
serving suggestion:  pan-seared steelhead and braised red cabbage
serves 4

1/2 red cabbage, shredded
1/2 yellow onion thinly sliced
1 tablespoon olive oil

Fennel Hinted Red Wine Sauce
4 tablespoons water
2 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup finely chopped shallot
1/2 cup red wine (Columbia Crest Merlot-Cabernet Savignon)
1 cup chicken broth
2 teaspoons cornstarch
1/16 teaspoon white pepper
kosher salt to taste
pinch fennel seeds
1/2 teaspoon butter

Saute cabbage and onions in large pan 10-12 minutes until fully wilted, salt and pepper to taste.  Keep warm until plating.
Prepare Sauce, warm over very low heat.
Pan-sear steelhead in scant olive oil, cooking 3-4 minutes each side, starting skin side up.
Plate cabbage and onions, place fish on top, spoon sauce over to taste.

1. Boil 2 tablespoons water and 2 tablespoons suger until golden caramel colored and syrupy, about 6 minutes.
2. Remove saucepan from heat and add 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar, stir to blend. Turn down heat to low and stir to dissolve thickened syrup. Add shallots continue stirring.
3. Add wine and return to a boil. Cook 8-10 minutes to reduce to by half.
4. Add chicken broth, return to boil. Cook to reduce to about 1 cup. Lower heat.
5. Combine corn starch and 2 tablespoons water, add to sauce and whisk over medium heat until sauce is thickened. Lower heat to simmer.
6. Taste. Add white and black peppers, kosher salt, and pinch of fennel seeds, butter, simmer 10 minutes.
7. Serve over seared fish and cabbage.

Thin slices asian pears with sliced Holiday Grapes

Cook’s Tips
This was based on http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/Pan-Seared-Salmon-Over-Red-Cabbage-and-Onions-with-Merlot-Gastrique-107416

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4 Responses to Fennel Hinted Red Wine Sauce

  1. bentobird says:

    Another lovely recipe with beautiful flavor harmonies! Really sweet reading about your Dad’s gift, thanks for sharing…

  2. Robin says:

    Thank you Jenn! I think this red wine sauce will find it’s way on other things… maybe just change the spice layers to suit. Yea, My Dad was a really good cook. I learned a lot from him and I miss him a bunch.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Wow! this was awesome. I made it last night and the sauce was worth the time to put it all together.

  4. Robin says:

    I am so glad you found this tasty and worth the effort! You comment is so welcome. Sometimes I think I am just writing for myself. Cheers Anonymous!

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