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This month, I continue the focus on wine with a special nod to white wine. White wine seems so crisp and refreshing ... much like the month of March. It's an excellent beverage to enjoy with everything from fish to chicken to pork, but it can also be a great addition within a meal. And, in that spirit, I'm presenting two recipes that take advantage of good white wine to make a special meal.
The first one is a simple fish dish that's poached in a lovely mixture of wine, vegetables and spices. After the fish has been poached, the wine mixture is spooned over it to act as a thin sauce that's highly flavored and a simple finish. Whenever I serve a dish that has wine featured prominently in it, I like to serve the same wine at the table as a beverage. That should make one rule obvious: always cook with wine that you would drink!
Place the water, white wine, bay leaves and onion into large heavy skillet. Tie the thyme, peppercorns and parsley in a layer of cheesecloth. Drop the pouch into the wine mixture.
Bring the mixture to a simmer over medium heat. Add the fish fillets. Cover the skillet and continue to simmer 8-10 minutes or until the fish is firm and flakes easily with a fork. Do not overcook.
Remove the fish to a serving platter, using a slotted spoon. Remove the cheesecloth bag, bay leaves and onion and discard.
Add the tomato puree and red pepper flakes to the liquid in the skillet. Bring the mixture to a boil, stirring to mix well; boil until the liquid is reduced by half. Add the saffron and 3 thin slices of the lemon; boil 1 minute longer.
Spoon the sauce over the fish fillets and garnish with the remaining thin lemon slices. Serve immediately.