Pairings: Fall salad sings with sauvignon blanc
Our Wine of the Week, Peju 2018 Napa Valley Sauvignon Blanc ($25), is lean and crisp, with an overlay of delicate minerality rising above very subtle fruit flavors, mostly citrus. You might sense a bit of apricot and nectarine but it is so understated that you won’t noticed it unless you are looking for it.
On the finish, there is the slightest whisper of green, suggestive of zucchini skin, jalapeño without the heat and green beans. It all comes together in a beautifully balanced wine that is a joy to drink.
At the table, you’ll enjoy this sauvignon blanc with sole or sand dabs sautéed in butter and finished with lemon juice and brined green peppercorns. It is excellent with oysters on the half shell with nothing more than a spritz of lemon and is also a delicious companion with grilled asparagus, steamed artichokes and green beans tossed with green olive tapenade.
A simple risotto with aged goat cheese is an excellent partner, too. You’ll also enjoy the wine with fall soups, such as green minestrone, which appears in today’s Seasonal Pantry, and chilled yogurt soup with diced cucumbers. Tacos with sautéed zucchini and cabbage salsa, celery sautéed in a little olive oil, and a mild (not spicy hot) posole blanco also welcome this wine alongside.
Today’s recipe is a simple fall salad, ideal as a full meal during a heat wave and a lovely starter in cool weather. If you can find Sarawak grapefruit, which has green flesh, that’s your best choice. If you can’t, use white grapefruit; Ruby grapefruit might have a tad too much sweetness for this wine.
Fall Greens with Avocado & Grapefruit
Makes 4 servings
1 grapefruit, peeled and sectioned (see Note below)
1 small shallot, minced
— Kosher salt
1 tablespoon champagne or white wine vinegar
1/3 cup ultra-premium extra virgin olive oil, preferably local, plus more to taste
— Black pepper in a mill
5 cups fresh fall salad greens, torn in small pieces
1 firm-ripe avocado, peeled, pitted, and cut into thin lengthwise slices
First, make the grapefruit sections. Reserve 3 tablespoons of the juice to make the vinaigrette and set the sections aside.
Put the shallot into a small bowl, season with a little salt and stir in the vinegar and reserved grapefruit juice. Set aside for 15 minutes. Add the olive oil and season generously with black pepper. Taste the vinaigrette and if it is too tart, add a little more oil.
Put the greens in a bowl, season with salt, toss, and drizzle about half the dressing on top. Toss again.
Arrange avocado slices and grapefruit sections attractively on individual salad plates. Mound the greens in the middle, spoon a little of the remaining dressing over the avocado and grapefruit, and enjoy right away.
Note: To make grapefruit segments, cut off both ends of the fruit and set it upright on your work surface. Hold the grapefruit steady with one hand, and with the other hand use a sharp knife to slice off the peel, cutting downward, following the curve of the fruit, all the way through the membrane. It will take about 5 or 6 cuts; the fruit should be completely free of white pith. Now, hold the grapefruit in the palm of your hand, with a bowl underneath to catch drippings. Slice close to each membrane to loosen each segment, which will gently slip out. Squeeze the membrane to extract any remaining juice.
Michele Anna Jordan is the author of 24 books to date, including “Vinaigrettes & Other Dressings.” Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.