Scallops in Coconut-Basil Sauce
"Coconut milk has the lushness and tropical richness that begs for California Chardonnay. It's the flavor combo. Gallo of Sonoma (about $9) is the best-tasting deal on the market. Or go with St. Francis (about $13) or Cambria (about $18)."
Salmon Poached in Court-Bouillon with Basil Aïoli
"It may be hard to imagine this match, so summon your faith: California Cabernet. Yes, there is no better friend to the flavor of basil when melted into a silky emulsion such as this. And the salmon is fearless with big reds. So go for it! Choose J. Lohr (about $15) for a budget Cab that tastes real, serious, gorgeous; or Seven Peaks (about $15). For a trade up that rewards the premium, go with Mondavi Stags Leap District (about $50)."
Olive Oil-Poached Mahimahi with Mediterranean Tomato Sauce
"This is a died-and-gone-to-heaven dinner with Chianti. The rosemary, tomato, olives, and heft of the fish dance with the spice and zest of Chianti. I would say Ecco Domani (about $11) for a budget choice, or Antinori Pèppoli (about $22) for a trade up."
Cod Poached in Tomato-Saffron Broth
"Marques de Caceres Rioja Rosado (about $6.50). It's so cheap it seems impossible. But it's delicious, and perfect with the saffron-garlic-seafood flavors here. Chin up, don't snob out; drink what tastes expensive, not what costs expensive!"
Halibut Poached in Orange Broth with Tropical Salsa
"The jalapeño heat, cilantro, and tropical fruit dream of Rieslings from Washington state, either Hogue (about $9) or Columbia Winery (about $8.50), are breathtaking. Their faintest edge of sweetness tames the chili heat. The same theory works with White Zinfandel, so go Beringer (about $8) or Turning Leaf (about $9) if you would rather."
Pinot Noir-Poached Salmon
"No need to poach with pricey Pinot when there is Turning Leaf (about $8), Pepperwood Grove (about $7), or Firesteed (about $10). And I would drink them just as proudly. They are silky cherries (which is the definition of Pinot). For a real treat that's still affordable, drink Calera (about $26) or Byron Pinot Noir (about $30)."
Andrea Immer--the author of Great Wine Made Simple, Andrea Immer's Wine Buying Guide for Everyone, and Great Tastes Made Simple-- is one of 10 women in the world to hold the title of Master Sommelier as well as the first woman chosen as Best Sommelier in America.