Chardonnay lovers, pay attention! Our Wine of the Week, Dutton-Goldfield 2015 Russian River Valley Dutton Ranch Chardonnay ($38), is a knock-out, with the luxurious qualities the late Warren Dutton so loved about this varietal.
On first sip, there’s a flash of citrus, especially Meyer lemon, lime zest and tangerine, followed by a bright burst of green apple. As these flavors resolve, you notice the wine’s lush mouth-filling texture, which blossoms with ripe Bartlett pear, apricot and white peach.
The finish brings things full circle, with a refreshing trail of acidity, like a fading melody line that lingers longer than you expect.
The wine all but cries “seafood!” Shellfish, especially mussels, scallops, shrimp and rock shrimp, salmon and other fatty fish, and even catfish benefit from having this wine alongside. Add a spritz of citrus and a splash of cream and you have an extraordinary and extraordinarily simple match.
The wine is also flattered by many foods of the season, including carrots, cabbage, winter squash and polenta. Carrot risotto, sautéed cabbage, fettuccine Alfredo and pasta in vodka sauce are all good matches.
Today’s recipe is inspired by an old favorite, developed when I happened to have a lot of leftover potatoes that had marinated in lemon juice overnight. The potatoes absorb the lemon juice and the resulting dish is bright, lush and exciting, especially with this wine.
Seared Scallops & Shrimp with Potatoes & Creme Fraiche
Makes 2 servings
12 very small new potatoes, peeled and cut in half
— Kosher salt
— Juice of 1 lemon
3 tablespoons butter
6 sea scallops
2 large or 4 medium Gulf shrimp, cleaned and shelled
1 whole lemon, halved
½ cup creme fraiche, plus more as needed
— Black pepper in a mill
2 teaspoons freshly snipped chives
Put the potatoes into a small saucepan, cover with water by at least 1 inch, season generously with salt, and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat and cook until the potatoes are tender when pierced with a fork or bamboo skewer. It will take about 15 minutes, depending on the size of the tubers.
Drain the potatoes, put them into a small bowl, add the lemon juice and set aside for at least one hour. To hold overnight, cover and refrigerate.
To finish, remove the potatoes from the refrigerator, if necessary, and set to rest at room temperature for 30 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 200 degrees; set two soup plates or pasta bowls in the oven to warm. Warm a small mixing bowl.
Set a medium sauté pan over high heat, add 2 tablespoons of the butter, and when it is melted and just taking on a bit of color, add the scallops and cook for 30 seconds. Add the shrimp, cook for 1 minute, and turn both shellfish over. Cook for 90 seconds more.
Add the juice of half the lemon, swirl the pan, season with salt and pepper and tip into the warmed bowl. Cover.
Working quickly, return the pan to high heat, add the remaining tablespoon of butter and the potatoes, and toss the potatoes to coat them thoroughly. Cook until they take on a bit of color, about 3 minutes. Stir in the creme fraiche, taste, correct for salt, and season with black pepper. Add the shellfish and any juices that have collected in the bowl, toss, and divide between the two warmed bowls or plates.
Lives with: Parents, Keri and Willie Balitbit, and younger sister, Maggie.
What he is listens to: Christian rock artists TobyMac and Matthew West, but also bird calls.
Favorite hobby: Birding.
Dream job: Illustrator for bird field guides.
Favorite TV shows: “Community” and “Friends.”
Favorite food: Sandwiches and seafood, including Dungeness and king crabs.
Quote: 'There’s no exact reason why I love birds the way I do. But what I tell others is that it’s a calling. It’s something that I was meant to do. — Mario Balitbit (paraphrased from 'The Big Year')