Husch <strong>2012 Mendocino Sauvignon Blanc</strong> ($14), our Wine of the Week, is a beauty, with a bright refreshing quality that gives it broad appeal at the table.
Fruit flavors lean toward the tropics, but not in an overpowering or cloying way. Hints of green melon, pomelo, mangosteen and not-quite-ripe kiwi mingle with suggestions of jalape? and rhubarb, with a finish of freshly mown grass on a cool morning.
This easy quaffer will pair beautifully with almost anything green, from the delicious green grapefruit "Sarawak" to arugula, asparagus, avocado, celery, green beans, lime, kaffir lime leaf, poblanos, cilantro, green olives and zucchini.
Seafood is a natural match; you'll want to remember this when Dungeness crab season opens next month.
The wine also is excellent with roasted chicken, young goat cheeses, chickpea salads, ceviche, feta cheese and traditional green papaya salad, provided it is not too hot. Spring rolls, Vietnamese bun salads and Meyer lemon risotto welcome this wine, too.
Today's recipe takes advantage of our local heirloom tomatoes, which still are delicious. It is inspired, in part, by fattoush, a Middle Eastern bread salad that uses toasted pita bread and sumac, which has a lovely tart flavor that resonates beautifully with the wine. Za'atar is simply sumac with toasted and ground sesame seeds, which contribute an earthy element.
<strong>Greek-Inspired Bread Salad</strong>
<em>Makes 3 to 4 servings</em>
2 stale pitas or 4 slices stale hearth bread, in bite-sized pieces, lightly toasted (see Note below)
1 small shallot, minced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 teaspoon best-quality white wine vinegar
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon ground sumac or za'atar, optional
— Kosher salt
— Black pepper in a mill
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
3 medium heirloom tomatoes, cored, halved (through the equator) and cut into wedges
1/2 small red onion, peeled and cut into thin lengthwise slices
1 small cucumber, peeled, seeded and cut into thin half moons
1/2 cup green olives, pitted and sliced lengthwise
2 teaspoons capers
4 ounces feta cheese, broken into chunks
2 generous handfuls of small-leafed arugula
Put the bread into a wide shallow bowl and set it aside.
Put the shallot and garlic into a small bowl, add the lemon juice, vinegar, oregano and sumac or za'atar, if using, and season with salt and pepper. Set aside for about 15 minutes while you prepare the vegetables.
Pour the olive oil into the shallot mixture, taste and correct for salt, pepper and acid balance.
Pour the dressing over the bread and toss.
Add the tomatoes, onion, cucumber, olives, capers and cheese and toss again. Let rest for 10 minutes.
Put the arugula in a bowl, season with salt and toss. Divide among individual bowls or plates. Top with the salad and serve.
<strong>Note:</strong> If you do not have stale bread, tear or cut fresh bread (either pita or hearth) into bite-sized pieces and toast it in a slow oven, turning it now and then until it is lightly browned and crunchy.
<em>Michele Anna Jordan hosts "Mouthful" each Sunday at 7 p.m. on KRCB 90.9 & 91.1 FM. E-mail Jordan at email@example.com. You'll find her blog, "Eat This Now," at pantry.blogs.pressdemocrat.com.</em>