Our Wine of the Week, Tin Roof 2011 California Chardonnay ($10) is an approachable wine, an easy quaffer that won't bust your wine budget.
The first impression the wine makes is one of creaminess, that richness on the palate that is characteristic of the varietal in California. Next comes apple that, when combines with the wine's oaky nuances, suggests baked apple and apple cobbler. That in turn gives the impression of sweetness, though the wine is fully dry.
Refreshing acidity and a whisper of citrus keeps the wine from seeming flabby or insipid. If you like chardonnay, this is one to keep around for drinking, for cooking and for offering to unexpected guests.
Because of its price, you can enjoy this wine with simple weekday foods, including pizza, especially those increasingly popular pizzas without tomato sauce. Pizza with olive oil, Fontina cheese, clams and bacon is a perfect match.
The wine is also good with seafood, especially rich seafood like fried oysters — an oyster po' boy! — grilled scallops and grilled halibut. It pairs nicely with spaghetti al vongole, spaghetti with vodka sauce, fettucini Alfredo, pork loin, tenderloin, and winter squash.
For today's recipe, I've chosen a smooth, creamy soup with layers of flavor contributed by roasting several members of the allium — lily — family together, much as you would roasted garlic.
Roasted Lily Soup
Makes 6 to 8 servings
1 garlic bulb, peeled and cloves separated
2 large or 6 small shallots, peeled
2 thick leeks, white part only, trimmed
3 large white or yellow onions, peeled and quartered
3 tablespoons olive oil
— Kosher salt
— Black pepper in a mill
3 Italian parsley sprigs
2 thyme sprigs
1 bay leaf
2 tablespoons butter, in pieces
6 cups homemade chicken stock or vegetable stock
? cup creme fraiche or 1? cups half-and-half
4 ounces, grated, Asiago, Jack or Fontina cheese
6 to 8 slices sourdough hearth bread, cut in half lengthwise
3 tablespoons snipped chives or chopped Italian parsley
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Put the garlic, shallots, leeks and onions into a roasting pan. Drizzle the olive oil over them and season with salt and pepper. Add the parsley, thyme and bay leaf and scatter the butter over everything. Add enough water to come up the sides of the pan by about 1/4 inch. Seal tightly with aluminum foil until everything is as tender as butter, about 1 hour.
Remove from the oven, uncover and cool briefly.
Discard the parsley, thyme and bay leaf.
Transfer the roasted lilies and all of the roasting liquid to a soup pot or large sauce pan, add the stock and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer gently for 15 minutes.
Remove from the heat, cool for about 5 minutes and use an immersion blender to puree the mixture until it is smooth and velvety.
Stir in the creme fraiche or half-and-half and the cheese and return to low heat. Heat through, stirring gently all the while. Do not let the mixture boil. Taste and correct for salt and pepper.
While the soup heats, toast the bread.