Our Wine of the Week, <strong>Guenoc 2012 California Sauvignon Blanc</strong> ($10), is a peacemaker, a wine that can bring together two factions that typically don't get along all that well, which is to say fans of chardonnay and advocates of sauvignon blanc. There's a plush mouthfeel to this wine that will engage chardonnay lovers immediately, and they will continue to pay attention as fruit flavors, especially pineapple, mango and white peach, blossom on the palate. At the same time, there's enough bright acid and suggestion of citrus to keep lovers of sauvignon blanc at the table.
These qualities — the plushness, the tropical fruit, the acidity — suggest you can take the wine in directions you've wanted to go with chardonnay but have avoided because of potential conflicts. Cilantro, for example, will resonate nicely with the wine, as will green vegetables — from green beans and chard to kale, spinach and zucchini. The wine is excellent with shellfish, perfect with pork tenderloin and quite pleasing with carrots, especially in a creamy carrot risotto or roasted carrot soup.
For today's recipe, I've taken inspiration from the wine's tropical qualities, which will connect with this Southeast Asian-style green curry with a satisfying flare, almost the way a fruit chutney might.
<strong>Winter Squash and Kale in Green Curry</strong>
<em> Makes 4 to 6 servings</em>
2 pounds winter squash, baked until tender (see Note below) and peeled
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 bunch Lacinato kale, rinsed, trimmed and cut into ?-inch wide crosswise pieces
— Kosher salt
2 large shallots, chopped
6 garlic cloves, chopped
2 teaspoons grated fresh ginger
1 or 2 serrano chiles, seeded and chopped
1/2 bunch cilantro, leaves and stems, chopped
1 can (14 ounces) unsweetened coconut milk
2 teaspoons sugar
— Steamed rice
If you have not already done so, prepare the squash. While it cooks, put the olive oil into a medium saute pan set over high heat, add the kale and pour in 1/2 cup water. Cover the pan and cook about
2 minutes, until the kale begins to wilt. Uncover, lower the heat and cook, turning now and then, until the kale is tender. Season with salt and set aside.
Meanwhile, put the chopped shallots and garlic into a suribachi or other mortar, season with several pinches of salt and use a wooden pestle to pound and grind them to a paste. Add the ginger, serranos and half the cilantro and continue to grind and pound into a uniform paste. Add ? cup water and continue to grind or process until the paste is fairly smooth. Set aside.
Pour the coconut milk into a small bowl and whisk until smooth. Pour half of it into a medium saucepan, bring to a boil over medium heat, reduce the heat and simmer, stirring frequently, until it thickens, about 3 minutes. Stir in the shallot paste and cook for 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Add the remaining coconut milk, the sugar and ? cup water, taste and correct for salt.
Gently fold in the squash, cover the pan and simmer very gently for 15 minutes, or until the squash is fully tender and the flavors have come together.