It’s impossible to visit San Diego and not feel the influence of Baja California on its culture and cuisine. That influence goes beyond the best fish tacos (seriously, Ensenada style tacos are a thing to behold), and is starting to include a vibrant wine culture as well. To celebrate the wonderful food and wine being featured at the San Diego Food and Wine Classic, I’ve partnered with Wines of Vinho Verde to share a favorite food and wine pairing of my own.
If you’re not familiar, Vinho Verde is a DOP (designation of origin) in northwest Portugal known for its distinctively light, bright wines. What gives Vinho Verde wines their distinctive flavor profiles are the indigenous varieties used, the fresh climate influenced by the Atlantic ocean and the well regard granitic, sandy soils in which the grapes are grown. Because of their typically crisp flavor (think fresh lemons and maybe a touch of summer peach), they pair brilliantly with food – especially seafood.
I tried three different wines, all from the Vinho Verde region, to use as inspiration for my recipe today. Covela Avesso Edição Nacional has a bright and peachy floral nose with vibrant lemon aromatics. It’s super crisp, almost feeling taut. Casa do Valle White is a bright, pale straw color, with an elegant floral, citrus and tropical fruits aroma. Imagine lemonade and gardenias. Estreia Alvarinho Reserva is also an excellent example of Vinho Verde wine. Fruity, floral and mineral aromas with a dry, fresh and citrusy palate. All of these wines have their own variations and flavors that make them distinctive, but they all share the same qualities that make Vinho Verde wine so remarkable. Fresh, clean, and bright.
I can’t think of anything that would pair better with Vinho Verde than a fresh and bright ceviche, loaded with lime and cilantro. Inspired by the ceviches you’ll find in Ensenada, I combined simple ingredients to add an exclamation point to the flavor of fresh seafood. Don’t be intimidated! Ceviche is super easy to make at home, and so, so delicious.
If you want to join in the fun this November, make sure to visit www.winesofvinhoverde.com to enter to win a pair of tickets.
1 pound sushi-grade tuna
1/2 red onion, halved and thinly sliced
3/4 cup fresh lime juice
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 large Hass avocado, cut into 1/3-inch dice
1/4 cup coarsely chopped cilantro, plus leaves for garnish
1/4 cup sliced radish
1 serrano chili, thinly sliced
1/2 cup vegetable oil
Freeze the tuna until fairly firm, about 15 minutes. Using a very sharp chef’s knife, cut the tuna into clean 1/4-inch cubes. Transfer the cubed tuna to a medium glass or ceramic bowl and stir in the red onion, lime juice, sugar, and black pepper. Cover the tuna with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour, stirring gently with a plastic spatula every 15 to 20 minutes (the diced tuna will change color slightly).
In a lipped saute pan, add the vegetable oil and bring up to 350F over medium high heat. Add a single tortilla, and fry for about 1 minute, until golden brown, flip, and fry for another minute. Set aside onto a paper towel lined plate. These fried tortillas are now tostadas.
Just before serving, gently fold in the diced avocado, radish, serrano, and chopped cilantro. Season the ceviche with salt. Place a tostada on a plate, and top with ceviche. Enjoy with a glass of Vinho Verde!