Matching the “Tropical” Style of Chardonnay

Because Chardonnay is made in so many styles—oaky and buttery… tropical… steely… “unoaked”—you need to be aware of the style when pairing it with food.

This Sauteed Snapper dish calls for a “tropical” style of Chardonnay—one that’s young, fruitful and not overly oaky.

The recipe that follows yields 4 servings.



  • 1/3 cup pitted kalamata olives, coarsely chopped
  • 1/3 cup plus 2 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1½ Tbs. loosely packed, finely grated lemon zest (from 1 large lemon)
  • 1 Tbs. fresh lemon juice
  • 1 small clove garlic, minced
  • 1/8 tsp. crushed red chile flakes
  • Salt, to taste
  • 4 skin-on snapper fillets, about 6-oz. each
  • 1/3 cup flour
  • 5 oz. (about 5 cups) baby arugula, washed and dried
  • 4 lemon wedges


  1. Mix the olives, 1/3 cup of the oil, lemon zest, lemon juice, garlic and chile flakes in a small bowl with a fork. Season to taste with salt.
  2. Pull out any bones in the fish with tweezers. Season both sides of the fish with salt, then dredge very lightly in the flour.
  3. Heat 2 Tbs. oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat.
  4. When hot, add two of the fillets, skin side up, and cook until light golden brown (about 4 to 5 minutes).
  5. With a thin-slotted metal spatula, turn the fish and cook until the second side is lightly browned and the fish is cooked through (about 3 minutes).
  6. Transfer the fillets, skin side down, to a plate. Cover to keep warm. Repeat with the remaining fillets.
  7. Stir the vinaigrette. Toss enough of it with the arugula to coat lightly (1 to 2 Tbs.), and portion it among four plates.
  8. Lay the fish on top, spoon the remaining vinaigrette over the fillets, and serve with a wedge of lemon.
Posted in Food and Wine Pairings/Recipes
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