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Catfish in tomato sauce needs wine with acidity

Published: Wednesday, July 2, 2014 1:15 a.m. CST

When what you’re eating contains a lot of acidity – whether from vinegar, citrus or other fruit – then you need a wine with a correlative level of acidity, too. If the wine is low in acidity, it falls flat on the palate and won’t do anything to modulate the acidity in the food. It’s counterintuitive, yes, but the two acidities pummel each other down; in fact, they need each other. There is lots of acidity in this dish (tomato, lime), plus fat; high-acid wines are the rule. One even comes from Texas, familiar land for catfish.

Catfish with Spicy Tomato Sauce and Pecans

Makes: 4 servings

Heat oven to 400 degrees.

Combine in a large bowl 1 can (14½ ounces) tomatoes; 5 green onions, sliced; 2 cloves garlic, minced; ½ cup toasted pecan halves; ¼ cup chopped cilantro; 2 tablespoons olive oil; ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes; the juice and zest of 1 lime and ½ teaspoon salt.

Place 4 catfish fillets (or other white fish) in a greased baking dish. Pour tomato mixture over fish.

Bake until fish begins to flake, about 20 minutes.

Wines

n 2013 Casal Garcia Rose, Vinho Verde, Portugal: Much vinho verde is pink (some even red); the “green” (verde) means young and fresh, like this hot-pink, slightly fizzy, off-dry, crisply acidic juicy pink. $10

n 2012 Brennan Vineyards White Blend Lily, Texas: A blend of three Rhone white varieties, for a Texan turn on peachy and ripe pear aroma and flavors, finishing with nice, cleansing tartness. $17-$19

n 2012 Estate Argyros Assyrtiko, Santorini, Greece: One of the better white grapes of Greece, assyrtiko is as lean, tight, linear, minerally and cleansing as a Muscadet or Picpoul, both of which it resembles. $20

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