Christmas in Napa Valley, Calif., is a wine-centric time. The new vintage has already been crushed and pressed, and bottles are making their way to holiday tables everywhere. 

“This is my favorite time of the year in Napa,” says Colin Crowley, executive chef at Terlato Wines International. “The pace has slowed down, and everyone turns their attention to celebrating the bounty of the season in a very relaxed, yet elegant, way.” 

December dining in Napa “is about classic recipes with contemporary updates that give the food an exciting, enticing vibrancy,” he says. 

Here is Chef Crowley’s recipe for a five-star entrée that pairs beautifully with a chardonnay. All of the ingredients should be available at your local natural and organic food store.

Halibut with Tomatoes, Capers and Olives 

For the Fish 

  • 1 halibut filet (about 4 pounds)
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • Salt and pepper, to taste  
  1. Coat halibut filet with olive oil, and season with salt and pepper.
  2. Roast in a 350°F oven for 20 to 25 minutes, or until internal temperature reaches 135°F.  

For the Tomatoes 

  • 6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 6 medium cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 cans (28 ounces each) premium tomatoes
  • 8 ounces Kalamata olives, halved
  • 3 tablespoons capers, rinsed
  • 3/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 3 tablespoons fresh basil, chopped  
  1. In a 12-inch skillet, over medium-low flame, heat the olive oil; add garlic. Cook for 1 minute; do not let the garlic brown.
  2. Add tomatoes (undrained), olives, capers and red pepper. Bring sauce to a brisk simmer, and cook about 8 minutes, stirring frequently.
  3. Spoon sauce over fish, and garnish with basil.

Recipe and photo courtesy of Terlato Wines International