When you get oak out of the way, a chardonnay, including in our Wine of the Week, Pamela's 2013 Sonoma County Unoaked Chardonnay ($15), will blossom in unexpected ways. Without that foundation of sweet smoke and vanilla contributed by oak, subtle fruit and flower elements emerge early on, with a refreshing finish that can be hard to achieve when the wine spends months in new barrels. There's a lightness to the wine, a buoyancy that keeps it refreshing and expands pairing options.
This wine offers a cornucopia of summer fruit, especially apricot, pear and Granny Smith apple. Hints of honeysuckle and a bit of ripe pineapple round things out as the crisp finish resonates pleasantly.
At the table, the wine is a welcome match with late spring vegetables, including favas and peas, zucchini, and the first tomatoes. It works beautifully with shellfish, especially scallops, and wild Pacific king salmon and is a good choice with pork loin. I find it particularly lovely with these light zucchini fritters, fragrant with cumin. I happened to have some homemade pineapple chutney in the refrigerator and it furthered the match in a delicious way. You'll find that recipe at Eat This Now at pantry.blogs.pressdemocrat.com.
Makes 3 to 4 servings
<i>1 pound zucchini, preferably Romanesco, grated on the large blade of a box grater
— Kosher salt
— Peanut oil, palm oil or mild olive oil for deep frying
3 to 4garlic cloves, minced
3 tablespoons chopped fresh Italian parsley
2 teaspoons cumin, toasted and crushed
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
— Black pepper in a mill
1 large pastured egg, beaten
— Mint sprigs or Italian parsley sprigs
— Whole-milk yogurt, creme fraiche or chutney</i>
Put the zucchini into a strainer or colander, sprinkle with salt, toss and let sit for 30 minutes.
Use your hands to press or squeeze out the liquid from the zucchini, so that it is fairly dry.
Pour about 3 inches of oil into a heavy saucepan or deep fryer, set over a medium burner or flame and heat to 350 degrees.
While the oil heats, put the squeezed zucchini into a bowl and fluff it with a fork.
Add the garlic and parsley and toss.
Put the cumin, flour and baking powder into a small bowl, season with salt and several generous turns of black pepper and add to the zucchini mixture. Toss thoroughly, add the egg and toss again quickly, being certain not to over-mix.
Use a 1-ounce ice cream scoop to shape the fritters and drop them, one by one, into the hot oil. Allow the oil to return to 350 degrees before adding another fritter. Fry for 1 minute, turn and fry for 1 minute more.
Use a slotted spoon to transfer each fritter to absorbent paper to drain.
Spread the mint or parsley over a platter, set the fritters on top and serve hot, with yogurt, creme fraiche or chutney alongside for dipping.
<i>Michele Anna Jordan has written 17 books to date, including "Vinaigrettes and Other Dressings." You'll find her blog, "Eat This Now," at pantry.blogs.pressdemocrat.com. Email Jordan at email@example.com.</i>