It's not just the surfboard that graces the label of our Wine of the Week, Longboard 2009 DaKine Vineyard Merlot ($28), that has me thinking about Hawaii. It is also the name of the vineyard, Da-Kine, a common exclamation in Hawaiian Pidgin that can be translated as "totally awesome."
Why the surfing and Hawaii references? The wine's maker, Oded Shakked, is passionate about surfing, a pursuit that inevitably leads to Hawaii, heart of the sport.
How does this translate into the wine? This merlot is lush and racy, with a swirl of flavors ranging from rich blueberry and blackberry to oil-cured black olives, silky dark chocolate and a hint of medium-roast coffee. Yet as the wine lingers on your palate, there's something else, a cool, refreshing flourish suggestive of crisp fennel, just-picked rhubarb or a splash of sea water. This almost briny characteristic lingers until the next sip, when it merges with the lovely scent of violets.
The wine's acid is as bright as a spring morning at the beach, a quality that makes it very food-friendly. You'll enjoy this wine with most red meats, especially rare beef. It is also excellent with portobello mushrooms, black beans, pizza, roasted root vegetables and grains like farro and barley. Carrot-parsnip soup is an excellent match.
For today's recipe, I'm taking inspiration from a ubiquitous Hawaiian dish, Korean-style ribs. Instead of ribs, I'm using skirt steak, because its concentrated flavor is perfect with this wine. Add black beans and whole-wheat tortillas, and you have a feast that is perfect after a day of surfing.
Skirt Steak with Korean-Style Barbecue Sauce and Black Beans
Makes 4 servings
-- Korean Barbecue Sauce (recipe follows)
1? pounds skirt steak, cut in four equal pieces
8 ounces dried black beans, soaked in water for several hours and drained
1 small yellow onion, quartered
1 small celery rib
1 bay leaf
3 garlic cloves, crushed
-- Red pepper flakes
-- Kosher salt
-- Black pepper in a mill
? cup creme fraiche
2 or 3 green onions, white and green parts, cut in thin diagonal slices
8 whole wheat tortillas, hot
Several hours or the day before serving, make the sauce.
Put the skirt steak into a plastic freezer bag and pour in about three-quarters of the sauce. Seal the bag, pressing out all the air. Store in the refrigerator for several hours or overnight. Cover and refrigerate the remaining sauce.
Put the black beans into a medium sauce pan and cover with water by about two inches. Add the onion, celery, bay leaf, garlic, a generous pinch of red pepper flakes and a generous teaspoon of kosher salt. Set over high heat and when the water boils, reduce the heat and skim off any foam that forms on the surface. Simmer, partially covered, until the beans are tender, from 45 to 90 minutes, depending on the age and variety of bean. Stir the beans now and then.
When the beans are fully tender, remove from the heat and use tongs to remove and discard the onion, celery and bay leaf. Taste, correct for salt and season with black pepper. Set aside and keep hot.
Remove the skirt steak and sauce from the refrigerator. Set a cast-iron pan over high heat until it is very hot. Add the skirt steak, cook for 1 minute, turn and cook for 1 minute more. If you prefer skirt steak rare, transfer it to a cutting board. If you prefer it medium-rare, cook 30 seconds more and then transfer it to a cutting board.