I haven't had these statistics officially verified, but the quantity of semillon sauvignon blanc likely to be consumed in Australia this summer would fill Sydney Harbour three times over. The style has become a perennial favourite among white wine drinkers everywhere - and for good reason. Unlike the overtly herbaceous, passionfruity punch of a single varietal sauvignon blanc, or the lean, lemony tartness of a straight semillon, blending the two together can knock back savvy's boisterous nature and fill out sem's austerity, creating a more complex, harmonious, food-friendly whole. This dish is extremely well-suited to the aromatic, youthful qualities of a good 2007 vintage sem sav: the clean, fresh flavours of the whiting reflect the up-front directness of the wine, while the savoury semillon component is echoed by the toasty notes of the sesame. The cut of rice wine and mirin and the aromatic herbal kick of the sauvignon is reflected in the crunchy green of the cucumber and peppery bite of the leaves.
Savoury, aromatic and peppery, this pairing of sem sav with King George whiting packs plenty of punch.
- 6 (about 600gm) fillets of King George whiting, cut into 5cm lengths
- 2 Lebanese cucumbers, thinly sliced widthways
- To serve: baby shiso and mizuna leaves (see note)
Roasted sesame dressing
- 2 tsp sesame seeds
- 2 tbsp grapeseed oil
- 2 tbsp each of mirin and rice wine vinegar
- 1 tsp sesame oil
- 1For roasted sesame dressing, heat a frying pan over medium heat and dry roast sesame seeds for 1-2 minutes or until starting to colour and pop. Add grapeseed oil, cook for another minute, remove from heat, add remaining ingredients and season to taste with sea salt. Cool completely.
- 2Combine fish and dressing in a bowl. Arrange cucumber on plates, top with fish, scatter over shiso and mizuna leaves and serve immediately drizzled with excess dressing.
Note Baby shiso and mizuna are available from select greengrocers. If unavailable, substitute with other baby leaves such as coriander and lamb's lettuce (mâche). Drink suggestion by Max Allen
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