Recipe Spotlight: Preparing Responsible Choice Seafood with Wine: If You Wouldn’t Drink It, Don’t Cook with It

Cooking Hy-Vee Responsible Choice seafood with wine can add a new dimension to the fish, enhancing flavors and adding new ones.

Remember, it’s only the alcohol content that diminishes when cooking, not the flavor of the wine. A good rule of thumb: If you wouldn’t drink the wine, don’t cook with it. It’s best to avoid wines that are labeled as cooking wine because they are often salty and can incorporate some different herbs and spices that will make your attempts at more adventurous cuisine fall flat.

A few words about this recipe: It uses Aborio rice, an Italian-style rice. Risotto refers to the method in which it is cooked.

Choose a good quality dry white wine, such as a buttery chardonnay.

Another tip: Have everything ready and measured out before you start to cook.


Shrimp Risotto with Peas and Parmesan

Serves 4

All you need:

  • 1/2 cup onion, cut in small dice
  • 3 tbsp olive oil, divided
  • 3 tbsp butter, divided
  • 1 cup uncooked Arborio rice
  • 1/2 cup white wine, divided
  • 3 cups seafood stock, divided
  • 1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
  • 2 cups frozen peas, defrosted
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1 pound raw, peeled and deveined (16 – 20 count) Responsible Choice wild-caught Gulf shrimp
  • 1/2 tbsp lemon pepper seasoning
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 lemons, 1 zested and juiced and 1 wedged
  • Lemon thyme, for garnish

All you do:

For the risotto:
1. Sauté onion in 2 tablespoons oil and 2 tablespoons butter for 3 minutes. Add rice, cook and stir for 2 minutes.

2. Stir in 1/4 cup white wine and 1 cup stock. Continue cooking and stirring until liquid is absorbed. Gradually stir in the remaining stock, 1 cup at a time, cooking and stirring until liquid is absorbed before adding the next cup.

3. Once liquid is incorporated and rice is el dente, fold in the Parmesan and peas. Season with salt and pepper. Keep warm until shrimp are done.

To sauté shrimp:
4. In a large sauté pan, over medium-high heat. Add 1 tablespoon butter and 1 tablespoon olive oil. When the butter is melted, add the shrimp. Season with lemon pepper seasoning and a little salt. Cook for about 2 minutes.

5.  Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Deglaze the pan with remaining 1/4 cup wine. Cook for 1 minute. Add the juice and zest of 1 lemon and continue to cook for another minute.

To serve:
6. Place a bed of risotto on each plate. Top each with 6 to 8 shrimp. Garnish each with thyme and a lemon wedge.

So, You Think Fish and Cheese Aren’t Compatible? That’s Just a Myth!

You may have heard that cheese and fish should never be paired because one is light and the other heavy, and the two shouldn’t meet. That’s an urban myth, and some of these ideas will demonstrate that.

If you’re cooking a dense fish, such as Hy-Vee Responsible Choice tuna, salmon, or mahi mahi, crumble some lemon Stilton over the top as you let is rest after removing it from the grill or oven. Some of the cheese will melt, but the lemon bits will remain, just as if you had grated fresh lemon over it. It’s superb.

Many people like to blacken these fishes. While you’re letting the fish rest, top it with some Maytag Blue cheese crumbles, then serve it with a ramekin of mango chutney.

My personal favorite is Cajun shrimp on a bed of spinach with carrots and shallots. I use raw, peeled and deveined shrimp. Throw it in a pan with some olive oil, toss with Cajun seasonings and cook for about five minutes. When it’s done, sprinkle some extra seasoning over it and top with BelGioioso four-cheese blend of Asiago, Parmesan, Romano and Fontina. The Fontina melts to give it a buttery texture. This is a good source of protein in one meal.

Some of the hard cheeses from Italy also pair well with seafood. Some basic rules of thumb:

Parmigiano Reggiano cheese

  • If you’re making a pasta Alfredo with seafood, use a four-blend Asiago mix.
  • If you’re making seafood chowder, use Asiago if the base is white. If the base is red, use Parmigiano Reggiano – this is one of the cheeses I never substitute.

Another divine pairing is fresh halibut with goat cheese and herbs. It’s not just a piece of fish or a piece of cheese, but how well they pop together. The cheese is so tangy. You could use a garlic and herb goat cheese, but if you’re using fresh herbs, I’d go with the plain.

Sartori basil and olive oil cheese is a great complement with a mild fish, such as tilapia. Just make a breading using panko, Italian herbs and sun dried tomatoes, then top it with the grated cheese before baking.

My colleague Chris Smith, also a cheese specialist at the Urbandale Hy-Vee store, likes to serve Sartori black pepper cheese with smoked Responsible Choice salmon on an appetizer plate.

Macaroni and cheese is huge and there are a multitude of recipes around. I like to make mine with gorgonzola, a veined Italian blue cheese, and lobster and peas – maybe some carrots to make it more colorful. You can also use shrimp, shredded tilapia or salmon in this recipe.

Shrimp, lobster and oysters (if you can find an option with the Responsible Choice logo) pair well with baked brie, spinach and fresh herbs. Just put them all together in a puff pastry shell. The flavors all work very well together.

In all of these pairings, it’s all about the taste experience. It’s not just about the fish, or the cheese, but how pairing them takes each to a new level.

Cheers! Choose the Right Wine and Beer to Complement Hy-Vee Responsible Choice Seafood

Whether wine or beer, the beverage paired with Hy-Vee Responsible Choice seafood is as important to its taste as the spices and sauces used in the preparation of the fish.

Sue Navratil here:
One of my favorite seafood choices is Pacific halibut. It’s easy to prepare and has a delicate, almost sweet taste. There are many wines that go well with halibut and other white fish, but one of the best is an unoaked chardonnay.

These wines have brighter fruit, they’re not heavy and laden with oak and butter, and their fruit shines through for a clean, crisp taste.

Some other good choices:

  • Dry roses have nice acidity and a bit of fruit that will complement that bit of sweetness and delicate taste of the halibut.
  • Dry chenin blanc. When dry chenins are their best, they will have a bit of sweetness of the grape. The wine is still dry, so it leaves the palate nice and clean.
  • Beaujolais. This wine from the Beaujolais region of France has a very light body and is dry and fruity. It has more body than a dry rose and has nice fruit, but not a lot of sugar to get in the way of the flavors of the fish. It’s also a bit more delicate, so it’s nice to pair with delicate fish.

The old adage that only white wine is paired with fish isn’t necessarily true. Many white wines do accompany fish well, but so will red wines with nice acidity, a light to medium body and low tannins.

With Responsible Source-labeled salmon, tuna and some of the meatier fishes, you can get into some red wines for sure. Pinot Noir has wonderful fruit and strong acidity that make it pair well with food in general, but with fish especially well because it doesn’t have all those heavy tannins.

Chardonnays with some nice butter and oak work especially well with salmon because it’s a fairly fatty fish. When you pair them, those buttery textures in the chardonnay and the fat in the salmon are a nice complement.

Go with a California pinot noir for tuna, a dense, meaty fish. Even if it’s only seared and is still a bit rare in the center, it has a meaty texture so it can handle the heavier body and riper fruit in these wines.

Rieslings, which have a drier, clean, crisp and almost citrusy taste, are good to pair with fish prepared with wasabi or spicy Thai seasonings. A taste of sweet, cool Riesling soothes and helps correct that crazy taste sensation you get with wasabi.

Champagne is also great with any fish that’s prepared tartare.

About the Author
I’m Sue Navratil, and I am a certified specialist of wine (CWS), which I earned by passing a rigorous exam through the Society of Wine Educators. There are only seven of us in the Hy-Vee system.

I work in the North Ankeny Boulevard Hy-Vee store. I love my job. Besides getting to work every day with wine, which is my passion, I help customers learn about wine and choose wine for their events, and facilitate their events by pouring wine.

I do a monthly wine club at the store and other occasional special wine events. I also write my own personal wine blog, naviwine.blogspot.com, which features wines that are available in my store.


Brian here:
The idea of pairing is for the dish and the beer to complement each other and make a new experience. Both can be great experiences on their own, but when you pair well, you end up with a truly exceptional dining experience.

The same principles used in wine pairing apply when choosing a beer to serve with fish. The important thing is to find something complementary that will not overpower the delicate nature of the seafood.

A lot of fish is very light, with a bright flavor and often made citrusy with lemon condiments and sauces.

With lighter white fishes, I like to serve crisp wheats. Two good ones are Boulevard Wheat or Goose Island 312 Urban Wheat. Both of these American wheats are crisp and citrusy, so they lend themselves well to seafood. And they will cut through the butter, if you’re topping it with a creamy sauce, and bring out the brightness of the fish.

Pale ales, such as Sierra Nevada Pale Ale or Mirror Pond from Deschutes Brewery, are also good for delicate white fish, like Pacific halibut.

I wouldn’t move too much out of the American wheats or American pale ales. They all have that citrusy note that lends itself well to any of the seafood. If you waiver too much, the beer will be overpowering and wash out the flavor of the fish.

As you move on to heartier fish, you want to step up the depth of beer. Shellfish can handle something maltier, like an IPA. Try to match the strength of the beer with the dish. The main thing is to make sure they work together.

For more traditional pairings, porters (like Central Waters Muddy Puppy Porter) and stouts (old-world Guinness is a good one) have a rich caramel quality that accentuates the creamy aspect of the seafood. Oysters and stouts go great together.