Pairings: Chardonnay soars alongside winter squash galette

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Our Wine of the Week, Marimar Estate 2018 Russian River Valley Don Miguel Vineyard Chardonnay ($39) is an extraordinary example of the heights to which a California-style chardonnay can soar.

It is lush, voluptuous, and nearly endlessly rich, but never ever cloying, as there is a foundation of bright acidity that is, in a way, a reference point for your palate.

Rising from that pretty acidity are an array of flavors, from baked Golden Delicious apple and ripe white pineapple to creme brulée, toffee, and toasted bread slathered with good butter. There’s just a hint of hazelnut, too.

The wine is outstanding with certain types of paella, as you would expect, especially paella with chicken, mussels and clams.

The wine’s maker, Marimar Torres, is from Catalunya and has written two books — “The Spanish Table” (Double Day, 1986) and “The Catalan Country Kitchen” (Aris Books/Addison-Wesley, 1992), both of which are available at the winery — about the foods of her homeland.

The books include recipes for a number of fish stews, several of which are outstanding with this wine.

Other good matches include roasted chicken, roasted root vegetables, sweet potatoes and winter squash, creamy polenta, shrimp in cream sauce, and other shellfish, especially scallops, mussels and crab.

Because so many of us are busy restocking our refrigerators and freezers, and some of us are still waiting for our gas to be restored, I’ve chosen a simple recipe for today’s pairing.

Don’t be put off by the need to make dough; this is one of the simplest doughs there is, and it does not take very long to make.

Adding hazelnuts to both the dough and the filling engage the wine in a beautiful way, making the match soar.

Winter Squash Galette

Makes 3 to 4 servings

For the galette shell

1 cup all-purpose flour

2 tablespoons ground or crushed hazelnuts

1 teaspoon kosher salt

— Black pepper in a mill

5 tablespoons butter, preferably local, chilled and cut into cubes

¼ cup ice water

For the filling

— About 1 pound thin-skinned winter squash, such as Butternut, peeled

4 tablespoons brown butter, plus more as needed (see Note below)

— Kosher salt

— Black pepper in a mill

6 ounces St. George or similar cheese, grated

2 tablespoons chopped fresh Italian parsley

1/4 cup hazelnuts, peeled, lightly toasted, and chopped

— Flake salt, such as Murray River, Maldon, or Diamond Crystal Kosher

First, make the galette dough. Combine the flour, ground hazelnuts, salt, and pepper in a medium work bowl, then use your fingers or a pastry cutter to work in the butter so that the mixture resembles coarse-ground cornmeal. Add the ice water, gently press the dough together, and gather it up into a ball. Wrap and chill for 1 hour.

While the dough chills, prepare the filling. First, separate the onion slices into rings.

Cut the squash into thin (about 3/8 inch) rounds and cut the rounds in half.

Put the butter into a wide sauté pan set over medium heat and when it is melted, add the squash in a single layer and season lightly with salt. Cook for 3 to 4 minutes, until the squash is picking up a bit of color. Turn and cook for 3 to 4 minutes more; season lightly with salt and several turns of black pepper. Remove from the heat.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment and set aside. Set the chilled dough on a lightly floured work surface and use the palm of your hand to pat it flat. Roll it into a 14-inch circle about 1/8 inch thick and carefully transfer to the parchment.

Working quickly, cover the galette with the cheese, leaving a 2-inch margin. Top the cheese with the squash, arranging it neatly. Scatter the parsley on top, followed by the hazelnuts.

Fold the margin of dough up and over the filling, gently pleat and pinch the dough as you fold. Use a pastry brush to pick up any pan juices and brush the exposed part of the dough. Sprinkle salt on the exposed dough, set on the middle rack of the oven and bake until the dough is crisp and golden brown, about 35 minutes. Remove from the oven and transfer to a rack to cool.

Cut into wedges and enjoy warm.

Note: To make brown butter, put 1 stick (4 ounces) into a small saucepan set over medium-low heat. When the butter is melted, skim off any impurities that have risen to the surface. Decant the melted butter into a clean container (a glass jar is ideal), leaving behind the film of white (milk solids) on the bottom of the pan. Clean the pan, wipe it dry, pour in the clarified butter, and set over medium heat.

Cook until the butter takes on a golden hue and gives off a nutlike aroma. Brown butter will keep, covered and in the refrigerator, for months.

Michele Anna Jordan is the author of 24 books to date. Email her at

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