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Polenta pies with chardonnay

Our Wine of the Week, CrossBarn Winery 2012 Sonoma Coast Chardonnay ($25), claims all the characteristics we expect from a California chardonnay, along with the structure, body and sophistication that grapes from the Sonoma Coast appellation show. Without the extremes of temperature in warmer inland valleys, Sonoma Coast grapes develop slowly and gently. Wines from this region are rarely fruit bombs and this one is no exception.

Aromas of spring honeysuckle, lemon blossoms and Asian pear offer a greeting as you lift the glass toward you. On the palate, the wine is rich and full, with layers of apple and pear punctuated by sweet citrus and white nectarine. The long finish offers pleasing little bursts of Meyer lemon.

When it comes to pairing the wine at the table, think corn, carrots, wild salmon, scallops and butter-based sauces. Lobster is a natural match, as is shrimp. Cooked oysters topped with a bit of bacon engage beautifully and highlight the suggestion of oak carried in each sip.

Chicken is also an excellent match. For today's recipe, I've combined roasted chicken with fresh favas and creamy polenta to create a cousin of the chicken pot pie, with lighter, brighter flavors. For best results, use muffin tins made for large muffins. If you use standard-size tins, you'll need to make 12 and allow two per person. To make the match soar, serve lightly steamed carrots seasoned with a bit of fresh ginger and toasted cumin seed alongside.

Spring Polenta Pies

Makes 6 servings

-- Kosher salt

? cup coarse-ground polenta

-- Boiling water

5 tablespoons butter, plus more if needed


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