Our Wine of the Week, Arrow&Branch 2015 Napa Valley Sauvignon Blanc ($35), is a classy beauty with an exuberant but not overwhelming quality.
At its core, the wine is cool and bright. Around this minerally foundation, swirls of subtle fruit, orange zest and sweet spices add an electrifying quality. If you pay attention, you’ll notice hints of fresh and dried ginger, suggestions of wild flower honey and a bouquet of citrus blossoms. The wine has appealing depth and a long finish that mirrors the wine’s flavors.
The wine is excellent with such shellfish as shrimp, rock shrimp, scallops and lobster, as its fullness on the palate and suggestion of sweetness mirror these qualities in the fish.
It pairs well with Ruby grapefruit — as in a salad of grapefruit, avocado and crab — and is a good companion to grilled chicken with pineapple salsa. Pork tenderloin in a mustard glaze or topped with grapefruit vinaigrette is another good match. Green vegetables work well with the wine, too, especially green beans, zucchini, celery and kale.
Because the wine is a bit of a splurge, it warrants a special dish alongside. Today’s recipe is not at all difficult, but it takes a bit more preparation than you might want to do on a weeknight. You can make the celery confit and the grape sauce beforehand and reheat them, or you can make the dish on a leisurely weekend when you can enjoy the time in the kitchen without hurrying. You will be rewarded with a heavenly match.
Petrale Sole with Celery Confit, White Grapes and Fried Capers
12 celery stalks, strings removed, cut into thin diagonal slices (about 3 1/2 cups)
2 thyme sprigs
1 bay leaf
2 cloves garlic, crushed
— Kosher salt
1 cup olive oil, plus more as needed
1/4 cup Champagne or white wine vinegar
— Juice of 1 lemon
— Black pepper in a mill
3/4 cup white grapes, preferably seedless, sliced into thin rounds
2 tablespoons capers, preferably salted, rinsed
4-6 ounce boneless Petrale sole fillets
1/4 cup all purpose flour
3 tablespoons clarified butter
1 tablespoon butter
12-16 celery leaves from the inner stalks
Put the celery, thyme, bay leaf, garlic, and several pinches of salt in a small saucepan set over very low heat and pour the olive oil over it. If the oil does not cover the celery completely, add enough to cover it. Cook very slowly until the celery is tender but not mushy, about 12 minutes. Use tongs to remove and discard the thyme, bay leaf and garlic. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the celery to a bowl and set aside. Reserve the oil.
Pour the vinegar and lemon juice into a small saucepan set over low heat, season with salt and pepper, and add the reserved oil. Add the grapes, remove from the heat, and set aside.
Set a small sauté pan over medium high heat, add the capers, and fry until they open like little flower buds, and just begin to turn crisp. Transfer to small bowl.
Set the fish fillets on a clean work surface and season all over with salt and pepper, and dust with flour. Heat the clarified butter in a large sauté pan over medium high heat and cook the fillets for 1 1/2 minutes. Add 1 tablespoon butter and, when it is melted, spoon it over the fish as it cooks for 1 minute more. Turn the fillets and cook until they are golden brown, about 2 minutes.