Our Wine of the Week, Starborough 2013 Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc ($15), is a real crowd pleaser, in every way imaginable, save one. If you must have red wine, you'll obviously not be interested. Otherwise, this is a great wine to have on your radar. It's available almost everywhere, it's affordable and it is often priced as a special deal. It has plenty of fruit but not too much, and it has beautiful acidity and brightness on the palate that keeps it refreshing.
When it comes to fruit, think tropical or semi-tropical; I notice guava, not-fully-ripe kiwi, pomelo, passionfruit and a hint of white pineapple. There's a suggestion of freshly mown grass in the bouquet, with bursts of citrus zest in both the aromas and on the palate.
The wine is lovely with a broad range of foods, from avocado, grapefruit, green beans and zucchini to oysters, crab, scallops, flounder, Petrale sole and pork tenderloin. A salad of avocado, grapefruit and Dungeness crab makes an outstanding companion. It is also excellent with Thai larb, provided it isn't too hot, and Vietnamese bun.
For today's recipe, I've adapted a dish from my book "San Francisco Seafood," (Ten Speed Press, 1999). It comes from Great Eastern, a popular restaurant in San Francisco's Chinatown. Years ago, the owner gave me the recipe for the book, and as he described it I almost fainted with hunger, it sounded so very good. And it is. I recommend saving the liquid for soup. Serve with a simple green salad and, if you like, steamed rice.
<strong>Marinated and Chilled Dungeness Crab, Chinatown-Style</strong>
Makes 3 to 4 servings
<em>— Kosher salt</em>
<em> 2 large live Dungeness crab</em>
<em> — Ice</em>
<em> 6 cups Strong Stock (see Note below)</em>
<em> 3 cups dry sherry or Shaoxing wine</em>
<em> 1/4 cup freshly grated ginger</em>
<em> 4 to 5 garlic cloves, crushed</em>
<em> 1 bunch green onions, white and green parts, trimmed and very thinly sliced</em>
Fill a large pot about two-thirds full with water, add salt — about 1/4 cup per gallon — and bring to a boil over high heat. When the water reaches a rolling boil, drop in each crab, plunging them in quickly, head first. Reduce the heat so that the water simmers, cover and cook gently for 12 to 13 minutes.
While the crab cooks, prepare an ice-water bath in a bowl big enough to hold both crabs.
When the crabs are done, use tongs to remove them from the water and plunge them into the ice-water bath. Let them rest for 10 minutes and transfer them to a clean tea towel.
Clean the crabs, leaving the body and legs attached and intact. (If you need instructions, you'll find them at "Eat This Now" at <a href="http://pantry.blogs.pressdemocrat.com" target="_blank">pantry.blogs.pressdemocrat.com</a>.)
Pour the Strong Stock and sherry or wine into a medium soup pot, add the ginger, garlic and green onions and bring to a boil over high heat.
Remove from the heat and set the cleaned crab into the stock. Let cool to room temperature, cover and refrigerate for 24 hours.
To serve, remove the crab from the marinade, twist off the legs, break the bodies in half, pile onto a platter and serve.