Pairings: Sand dabs with sauvignon blanc

Our Wine of the Week, Rombauer Vineyards 2015 Napa Valley Sauvignon Blanc ($24), is a cornucopia of citrus, especially white grapefruit, pink grapefruit rind and lime zest. Underneath these initial flavors is a striking and unexpected richness, a concentrated flavor and rather beguiling.

The wine is outstanding with all but the richest fish and is a natural with such green vegetables as celery, zucchini and broccoli. It will be a great match when basil is in season, and if you are tempted by nettles in soup or pasta, you'll enjoy this wine alongside.

It is also beautiful with green olives, radishes, radish sprouts and all manner of mustard greens. Enjoy it with tabbouleh, especially in the spring with avocado and sorrel instead of tomatoes and parsley, and with chick peas, asparagus and artichokes.

If you enjoy a vinaigrette on foods other than salads, this is the ideal wine to enjoy alongside dishes such as pork chops with grapefruit vinaigrette and trout with lemon vinaigrette.

Today's inspiration comes from the sand dabs available recently at Santa Rosa Seafood. They once were easily available but have nearly vanished from the market in recent years, due to problems with fishing techniques. It's great to see them back, as they are one of the most delicious fish available and are a specialty in the Bay Area and nowhere else. If you can't get sand dabs, use Petrale sole, flounder or other white flatfish instead.

Pan-Fried Sand Dabs with Sautéed Celery & Green Olives

Serves 2, easily doubled

½ cup pitted green olives, minced

1 small shallot, minced

1 garlic clove, minced

- Zest of 1 lime

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1 tablespoon chopped fresh Italian parsley

3 tablespoons olive oil

2 celery stalks, trimmed and cut into ¼-inch diagonal slices

- Kosher salt

- Black pepper in a mill

3 tablespoons butter

¼ cup all-purpose flour, on a flat plate

4-6 small to medium sand dabs, dressed

- Juice of 1 lime

Put the olives into a small bowl, add the shallot, garlic and lime zest, and toss gently with a fork. Stir in the olive oil, add the parsley and set aside.

Pour the olive oil into a heavy sauté pan set over medium heat, add the celery and sauté, turning two or three times, until it just begins to soften but retains its texture. Season with salt and pepper and transfer to 2 warmed plates. Cover and keep warm.

Working quickly, increase the heat under the sauté pan to high, add the butter and while waiting for it to melt, season the sand dabs all over with salt and pepper and dredge them through the flour.

Cook the sand dabs on one side for 4 minutes, turn and cook 2 minutes more. Add the lime juice, cover the pan and shake it gently for 1 minute. Uncover and cook for 1 minute more.

Set the fish on top of the celery, pour the pan juices over it, and add a very generous dollop of the green olive mixture on each piece of fish. Enjoy right away.

Michele Anna Jordan is author of the new “Good Cook's” series. Email her at or visit her blog at

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