Picture this: A cowboy bellies up to the bar, where a barmaid dressed in a tight bustier and ruffled skirts puts one hand on her hip, cocks her head and says, "Ya want fruit? We got fruit."
She smacks a short tumbler onto the bar, holds a bottle high above the bar and and lets loose with a deep chuckle as the pale yellow liquid splashes into the glass and onto the cowboy's finely embroidered shirt.
That's our Wine of the Week, Shebang! North Coast Cuvee II White Wine ($12). It's a feisty and even audacious white wine a cowboy could love. It would fit in well at a chuck wagon feed, under the stars on a hot night.
On first sip, the wine fills your mouth with summer fruit — peaches, nectaries, apricots — and honeysuckle. Pulling up at the end, like a puppy chasing the herd, come bright little bursts of citrus, especially lemon.
The wine has a full and supple texture, too, enough that it will work nearly as well with foods we usually pair with red wines as with more traditional pairings. It's a natural with trout, flounder and similar fish but will also resonate beautifully with grilled flank steak, should white be your preference.
It's excellent with most potato salads and is flattered by classic baked beans. Young goat cheeses, green beans, fennel, zucchini and pork loin all work well with the wine. At the end of the meal, enjoy some peaches grilled over the dying embers with a few final sips.
For today's recipe, how about a simple side dish? Grilled cabbage is easy to add to any barbecue and was often part of a chuck wagon menu, as cabbage is easy to transport long distances and keeps well.
Grilled Cabbage Wedges
Makes 6 servings
1 tablespoon kosher salt, plus more to taste
1 medium cabbage, trimmed
— Olive oil
— Black pepper in a mill
1 lemon, halved
1 tablespoon honey, warm
3 to 4 bacon slices, fried until crisp and drained
Prepare a fire in an outdoor grill.
Fill a large saucepan half full with water, add 1 tablespoon kosher salt and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to medium-low.
Cut the cabbage in half, cutting from top to bottom. Cut out the core and cut each half into three wedges.
Carefully add the wedges to the simmering water. Cover and cook 7 to 8 minutes, until the cabbage just begins to soften.
Transfer the wedges to absorbent paper, using tongs to help keep each wedge intact.
Brush each cabbage wedge with olive oil.
Arrange the cabbage, cut-side down, on the grill rack. Cook for 3 to 4 minutes. Turn and cook 3 to 4 minutes more, until the wedges are tender when pierced with a bamboo skewer.
Transfer to a serving platter and season with salt and pepper. Squeeze lemon juice over the cabbage, drizzle the honey over it and scatter the bacon on top.
Michele Anna Jordan hosts "Mouthful" each Sunday at 7 p.m. on KRCB 90.9 & 91.1 FM.
E-mail Jordan at firstname.lastname@example.org.
You'll find her blog, "Eat This Now," at pantry.blogs.pressdemocrat.com.