April 19, 2021

Seared Halibut with Crispy Herbed Sun Chokes, Charred Corn & Roasted Mushroom Risotto

Recipe by Chef Nick Kubitz
Pairing 2021 Chardonnay – Merrill Vineyard
Serves 4


Crispy Herbed Sun Chokes
  • 2 Tbsp Italian Parsley (Picked & Fine Chopped)
  • 2 Tbsp Chive (Fine Chopped)
  • 8 Sun Chokes (Scrubbed, Shaved Thin On A Mandolin & Soaked In Cold Water)
  • 1 Lemon (Zest)
  • 1 Quart Canola Oil (For Frying Sun Chokes)
  • Fresh Cracked White Pepper (To Taste)
  • Kosher Salt (To Taste)
Charred Corn & Mushroom Risotto
  • 3 Ears Corn (Shucked & Cleaned)
  • 3 Cups Oyster Mushrooms (Broken Down & Cleaned)
  • 2 Tsp Shallot (Finely Chopped)
  • 1 Tsp Fresh Thyme (Picked & Finely Chopped)
  • 1 Clove Garlic (Minced)
  • 1 Lemon (Zest)
  • 1 Cup Arborio Rice
  • 7 Cups Chicken Stock
  • 1/2 Cup White Wine
  • 1/2 Cup Parmesan Cheese (Grated)
  • 2 Tbsp Unsalted Butter
  • 1 Tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil ((Plus Extra To Drizzle Over Corn To Char)
  • Fresh Cracked White Pepper (To Taste)
  • Kosher Salt (To Taste)
Seared Halibut
  • 4 6-8 Oz Halibut Steaks
  • 1/2 Tsp Fresh Cracked White Pepper
  • 1 Tbsp Kosher Salt
  • 2 Tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil Extra Virgin Olive Oil


  • Crispy Herbed Sun Chokes
    Put canola oil in a sauce pan with tall enough walls so oil does not boil
    over when frying. Turn the pan on medium-high heat until the oil reaches
    325 degrees. While the oil is heating up, drain the sun chokes on paper
    towels. Also make a landing station of a plate lined with paper towels.
    Add the sun chokes to the oil and fry until crispy like potato chips. Pull the
    sun choke chips from the oil and put them on the landing station to drain.
    Sprinkle the chips with kosher salt to season. While the fish is cooking in
    the oven, mix the sun choke chips with parsley, chive, lemon zest and a
    little fresh cracked white pepper in a large bowl. Set aside for plating.

  • Charred Corn & Mushroom Risotto
    Either turn the BBQ or oven broiler on high. Drizzle the corn with olive
    oil and season it with kosher salt and white pepper. Grill or broil the corn
    until charred and browned all over. Cut the corn off the cob and set aside.

  • Put chicken stock in a sauce pan and bring it to a simmer. In a large sauce
    pan on medium-high heat add the olive oil and butter. Once the butter is
    melted, add the oyster mushrooms, thyme, shallot and white pepper.
    Sauté until the mushrooms are tender, about 5-8 minutes. Add charred
    corn and garlic to the mushroom mixture. Sauté for another couple of
    minutes, stirring constantly so the garlic does not burn. Add arborio rice
    and sauté to toast rice for about 5 minutes. Stir in white wine until
    evaporated. Slowly ladle in the simmering chicken stock a little at a time
    stirring constantly. Continue this process until rice is creamy and tender.
    Stir in grated parmesan cheese and the zest from 1 lemon to finish.
    Set aside on a low burner to keep warm.

  • Seared Halibut
    Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

    Place a large oven safe sauté pan on high heat. Once hot, drizzle the pan
    in olive oil and add seasoned halibut. Hard sear the halibut until browned
    and crisped on both sides. This should take about 2 minutes per a side.
    Put the fish in the preheated oven and cook until just cooked through.
    Another 4-8 minutes depending on the fish thickness. Prepare to plate the

  • Plating
    Evenly distribute the risotto onto four plates. Top risotto with the seared
    halibut and drizzle with a little extra virgin olive oil. Finish the plate by
    topping the halibut with herbed sun chokes and enjoy with
    LangeTwins Merrill Chardonnay!

Chef Nick Kubitz

Our partnerships with talented chefs always start with the wines. When planning for any event, we consider the wine first before we move on to the challenge of asking our team to develop a meal that reflects a unique synergy. We are grateful to have a homegrown guy as one of our ‘aces’ in the kitchen. He is definitely a man who demonstrates a unique sense of tasting, pairing, and creating food recognizing the efforts made in the vineyard to produce our fabulous varietals.

At first glance, Chef Nick Kubitz looks like he should be a bouncer at your favorite club - big, burly, gritty but with a quiet confidence that owns the room. And actually he has clawed his way to the top with those jobs while earning his culinary management and hospitality degree at the Art Institute of California, San Diego. The past decade has found him trying his hand at a BBQ restaurant, managing a food truck, and working alongside Michelin starred chefs in San Francisco.

Kubitz has developed a passion for the best and freshest ingredients that San Joaquin County has to offer, and his past experience of overseeing a large kitchen in a San Francisco tech company allowed him to harness and integrate the tastes of ingredients from around the world to satisfy the many cultures of that particular employee base.

And he is not one to shy aware from pressure – Kubitz has twice joined us at the world-renowned Aspen Food and Wine show creating a series of private food experiences to tease guests away from the main tent headliner chefs. His knowledge of Lodi wines, the appellation, and terroir all layer into the choices he makes in the kitchen to offer what we would consider a ‘perfect pairing’.

We sit up nights trying to figure out how to shackle Kubitz to our kitchen – we block his calendar every chance we get, but support his dream of owning a unique fine dining company called Range – a place that will showcase the range of his talents and experiences.

You’ll find unique crafted recipes from Kubitz within this blog, give them a try and send us your thoughts and of course, a photo of the final product!

Pairing | 2021 Chardonnay – Merrill Vineyard

Flavors of honeyed melon with satisfying fresh baked brioche notes.
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