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Grilled Fish in a Spicy Citrus Marinade

Grilled Fish in a Spicy Citrus Marinade
The goal of the wine here is to mitigate the chilies while bringing out the zesty nature of the lime and the sharpness of the ginger. Off-dry whites, especially those low in alcohol, which have a tendency to make chilies burn even more, do the trick. These subtly sweet wines also balance well with caramelized, smoky flavors from the grill. A plate of simply sautéed greens or a dish of black or red beans and rice will round out the menu. Dependable: off-dry German Riesling. Daring: lightly oak-aged Pinot Noir.

Ingredients:

  • 4 firm, mild white fish fillets, such as grouper,
      sea bass, flounder, cod, halibut or tilapia,
      each about 6 oz.
  • Sea salt or kosher salt, to taste
  • 1 small yellow onion, diced
  • 1 walnut-sized piece of fresh ginger, peeled and
     thinly sliced
  • 1 small bunch fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 1 Tbs. chopped garlic
  • 2 tsp. minced jalapeño chili
  • 2 tsp. grated lime zest
  • 1 tsp. freshly ground pepper
  • 1/4 cup lime juice
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 lime, quartered (optional)

Directions:

Place the fish fillets in a nonreactive container and season lightly with salt. In a food processor, combine the onion, ginger, cilantro, garlic, chili, lime zest, pepper, lime juice and olive oil. Using on-off pulses, pulse until a paste forms. Rub the paste evenly over both sides of each fish fillet. Cover and marinate in the refrigerator for up to 2 hours.

Prepare a fire in a charcoal grill or preheat a grill pan over medium-high heat.

Season the fish fillets with salt again. Lightly oil the grill or grill pan. Grill the fish, turning once, until opaque throughout when pierced with a knife, 3 to 4 minutes per side.

Transfer the fish to warmed individual plates. Serve immediately with lime wedges.
Serves 4.
Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Lifestyles Series, Food & Wine Pairing, by Joyce Goldstein (Time-Life Books, 1999).