Want to show our Wine of the Week, <strong>Tin Roof Cellars 2012 California Sauvignon Blanc</strong> ($10), at its very best? Get some crab. It's that simple.
This wine is as refreshing as the splash of a wave and the mist that rises from it. It has a lovely citrus quality, like a spritz of zest when lemon peel is bent or pricked.
There's a suggestion of grass — in the morning, cloaked in dew — and a swirl of other citrus fruits, especially pomelo, lime and grapefruit. You may notice a whiff of lemon blossoms in the aromas that rise from the glass.
The wine has broad appeal at the table. It stands up well with moderately spicy foods, especially those based on green chiles. It's outstanding with simple roasted chicken, especially when it has been basted with lemon and butter. It's also lovely with kale salad and if there's a bit of feta cheese included it's even better.
Even feta cheese drizzled with olive oil and lemon juice is a great match.
As good as these pairings are, the wine soars with seafood. Oysters-on-the-half-shell, maybe at the coast? Don't forget this wine, well-chilled. Steamed clams, spaghetti Vongole, petrale sole meuniere? This wine flatters them all and is in turn flattered by them.
And then there's Dungeness crab, served chilled and cracked, with lemon wedges; in a simple salad of crab, lemon, olio nuovo and minced chives; in vichyssoise. All are matches that soar with this wine.
For today's recipe, inspiration comes from two places.
The first is a dish I've served for years with hot pasta, hot crab, lemon butter and garlic.
The second is a dish from one of my favorite cookery writers, Viana LaPlace, "Hot Rice with Cold Lemon," an exhilarating combination of creamy arborio rice and cold lemon juice. Dungeness crab is best chilled and a bed of hot pasta cloaked in creamy butter is just the thing to show it off to its best advantage.
<strong>Hot Linguine with Cold Crab</strong>
<em> Makes 2, easily doubled</em>
6 ounces dried linguine
1 to 2 tablespoons local organic butter, in pieces
1 tablespoon creme fraiche
1 tablespoon minced fresh chives
—Red pepper flakes, optional
1 lemon, cut in wedges
—Picked meat from 1 Dungeness crab
Cook the linguine in a large pot of well-salted, rapidly boiling water according to package directions.
While it cooks, put the butter and creme fraiche into a wide shallow bowl that you have warmed under running water and then dried.
When the linguine is cooked al dente, drain it thoroughly and do not rinse it.
Add the linguine to the warmed bowl and toss with two forks until it is cloaked with butter and creme fraiche. Add the chives, a shake or two of red pepper flakes, if using, and the juice of 1 lemon wedge, season with salt and toss again.
Top the pasta with the body meat of the crab and then divide the leg meat between the two portions. Garnish with the remaining lemon wedges and serve immediately.
<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>