PAIRING: PINOT NOIR WITH SALMON AND HAM FOOD-FRIENDLY PEDRONCELLI IS JUICY, EARTHY WITH SATIN-ON-SILK FEEL IN MOUTH
Our Wine of the Week, Pedroncelli 2008 Russian River Valley Pinot Noir ($18), is both juicy and earthy, with a spicy foundation, a soft roundness on the palate and a toastiness born of oak that hovers on the edges of the wine, suggesting smoke and dried tobacco.
Accents of clove, white pepper and allspice punctuate the wine as you sip.
When it comes to fruit, the dominant flavor is of raspberries, especially dried black raspberries, followed by ripe red raspberries that linger on the long finish.
The wine has a satin-on-silk feel in the mouth that resolves into just a hint of roughness that will soften as the tannins age a bit.
The wine is quite food-friendly, as this varietal always is.
Meats such as lamb, rare goat, rare duck and the dark meat of chicken will work very well with this pinot noir.
A voluptuous risotto is a good choice, too, as the creamy rice will mitigate the bit of roughness in the tannins.
You'll want to enjoy it with summer's harvest of corn, sweet red peppers and ripe beefsteak tomatoes, too.
For today's recipe, I'm opting for optimism. Will we have a local salmon season?
Maybe. If so, this recipe, from Gerald Hirogoyen in "San Francisco Seafood" (Ten Speed Press, 2000), is a perfect way to enjoy the wine.
If not, we do have excellent wild salmon from Alaska. The rich texture and sweet flavor of the fish is a perfect match with the wine.
For a special occasion, serve a voluptuous soup -- white bean soup with a black olive tapenade, for example -- beforehand and cheese with quince paste afterwards.
The wine will take you all the way through the meal, deliciously.
in Serrano Ham,
Braised Greens and Garlic-Bread Sauce
Makes 4 servings
5 tablespoons olive oil
?? small onion, very thinly sliced
6 garlic cloves, crushed
?? cup dry white wine
1 cup vegetable stock or light chicken stock
4 baguette slices, preferably day-old, about 3/8-inch thick
-- Kosher salt
8 thin slices serrano ham
4 wild Pacific king salmon fillets, about 1-inch thick, pin bones removed
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 pound braising greens (a mix of chard, kale, beet greens, turnip greens)
1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
-- Black pepper in a mill
1 tablespoon minced fresh Italian parsley
8 large croutons, lightly toasted
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
To make the bread sauce, heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil in a saucepan over medium heat.
Add the onion and garlic and saute until golden brown and lightly caramelized, about 5 minutes.
Add the wine, stock and bread, season with salt and bring to a boil.
Decrease the heat and simmer gently for 20 minutes.
Transfer the ingredients to a blender and pulse on high speed until liquified; set aside (in the blender container) until immediately before serving.
To prepare the salmon, evenly arrange 2 slices of the ham lengthwise on a work surface so that they slightly overlap.
Place a salmon fillet centered horizontally at the bottom of the ham slices and carefully roll the fillet up in the ham.
Set it aside, seam-side down. Repeat with the remaining fillets and ham.
Heat the remaining 3 tablespoons olive oil in a large ovenproof nonstick saute pan over high heat.
Set the wrapped fillets in the pan, seam-side down.
Transfer the pan to the oven and roast the fillets for 5 minutes.
Turn the fillets over and roast 4 minutes more.
Working quickly, melt the butter in a large saute pan or wok, add the greens and 1/3 cup water and cook, turning frequently, until the greens wilt; continue to cook until tender.
Season with salt, cover and set aside.
Meanwhile, add the teaspoon of extra virgin olive oil to the bread sauce, season with several turns of black pepper, pulse several times and strain the sauce through a fine-meshed sieve into a small saucepan. Set over low heat to warm thoroughly.
To serve, divide the greens among 4 warmed plates and set a salmon fillet on top. Spoon sauce over and around the salmon and greens.
Sprinkle with parsley, add 2 croutons to each plate and serve immediately.
Michele Anna Jordan hosts "Mouthful" each Sunday at 7 p.m. on KRCB 90.9 & 91.1 FM. E-mail Jordan at michele@ micheleannajordan.com.