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Feb 5, 2019
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WINE WITH…Salmon Filet and Cucumbers

The tendency on a cold winter’s evening is to hunker down and enjoy a warm and sturdy dinner--beef stew, perhaps, or lasagna, or some-such stick-to-the-ribs dish.  One recent frosty night, however, we found ourselves perversely yearning for food that might bring us a whiff of summer.  We’re not talking about truly warm weather food such as Salade Niçoise, gazpacho or egg salad sandwiches; what we wanted was a warm and nutrient dense meal to help support our immune systems during this icy season, but also something suggestive of summers past and future.  The dish we came up with was an oven-roasted filet of salmon garnished with cucumbers.  The super nutritious salmon was warm, rich and spicy, while the contrasting cool, sliced cucs contributed evocative summery aromas as well as textural crunch.  And as a reminder that it was still cold outside, we served hot-from-the-oven baked potatoes as an accompaniment to this lovely dish.

Salmon Filet and Cuccumbers

Serves 2

If time and your organizational skills allow, marinate both the salmon and the cucumber a few hours before cooking the fish.

For the Salmon:

About 1 pound salmon filet
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 teaspoon Sriracha or similar hot sauce

For the Cucumber:

1 English or other long, seedless cucumber
1 tablespoon white wine vinegar (or sherry vinegar)
3 tablespoons olive oil
salt and pepper

Garnish: 1 lemon

With a paper towel, pat the salmon dry.  Place the tablespoon of olive oil in an oven-proof baking dish or cast iron skillet.  Add the salmon, skin side down.  Whisk together the lemon juice, soy sauce and Sriracha, and spoon the mixture over the salmon.  Let it rest for at least 10 minutes and up to 2 or 3 hours.

To cook the salmon, preheat the oven to 450°
Roast the fish for 15-25 minutes, depending on the thickness of the filet, until it is just cooked through (cook it a little less time if you prefer it medium rare).

Meanwhile, peel the cucumber (if you prefer it unpeeled that’s fine).  Cut it in very thin slices—using the large holes on a box grater works like a charm and takes only a couple of minutes.  Place the slices in a bowl. Whisk together the white wine vinegar and the olive oil, and toss the cucumber slices with the mixture.  If you’ve made this ahead of time, toss the cucs from time to time.  Season with salt and pepper just before serving.

To serve, cut the salmon filet in half and place each on a separate dish surrounded by cucumber slices.  Garnish with half a lemon.

*         *         *

White and rosé wines fared best with this dish, though a New Zealand Pinot Noir fared very well too.  The tannins in most reds, however, got in the way of a smooth and seamless match.  Look then for whites, rosés, or light reds that will seems satisfying, not disruptive.


Cowhorn, Applegate Valley


“Spiral 36”






A topnotch white Rhône blend, this is an enticing mélange of Marsanne, Roussanne, and Viognier.  It tastes as rich and compelling as the salmon itself, while echoing the cucumbers in its freshness.


Yves Leccia,

Ile de Beauté





(Imported by Kermit Lynch)







A distinctly energetic and juicy rosé, this blend of localNielluccio and Sciaccarellu grapes also has enough depth of flavor to partner well with the salmon.









Sonoma Coast


“Wildcat Mountain Vineyard”











A rich texture and vibrant flavors, including a hint of oak spice, made this splendid Chardonnay an excellent partner for the salmon, while traces of minerality linked it nicely with the cucumbers.








Central Otago (New Zealand)

Pinot Noir


(Imported by

Vineyard Brands)








This is an elegant and graceful Pinot Noir whose nuanced flavors and supple texture meshed beautifully with all the different elements in the dish.








Grüner Veltliner


(Imported by Skurnik)







Fresh and mouth-watering, with vivid fruit flavors and a hint of pepper in the finish, this wine married equally well with the cucumbers and the fish.