Pairings: Mauritson sauvignon blanc with artichokes
Mauritson 2014 Dry Creek Valley Sauvignon Blanc ($21), our Wine of the Week, is a delight, with a soft spring-like glow in the glass, warm fruit melodies in the bouquet and an engaging voluptuousness on the palate. The mouth feel is round and full, yet not cloying; the wine has not gone through malolactic fermentation, nor has it been aged in oak; the fullness is simply a matter of the grapes themselves and the gentle hand of the winemaker. It is refreshing, with each sip leading to another.
When it comes to fruit, guava, mangosteen, guava and ruby grapefruit beckon you to take a sip. On the palate, these flavors unfold to reveal a full range of citrus, along with ripe white peaches, apricot and a hint of minerality.
The wine works well with almost any citronette or vinaigrette, provided it is not sweet (which means don’t pair it with balsamic vinegar). It is delicious with ceviche, especially bay scallop ceviche with a lime-based sauce.
It’s excellent with chicken and pork tenderloin and lovely with green vegetables, from asparagus to spinach and zucchini. With the right condiment alongside, the wine is also a good match with artichokes, which are notoriously difficult to pair successfully.
In today’s recipe, a simple mustard sauce forms the bridge that engages the wine with fresh artichokes. Enjoy this spring dish as long as we have fresh artichokes; it makes a great starter to an Easter feast, too.
This recipe is adapted from “The Good Cook’s Book of Mustard” (Skyhorse Publishing, 2015)
Artichokes with Mustard Cream
4 artichokes, preferably Green Globe variety, trimmed
2-3 garlic cloves, peeled and thinly sliced
1 tablespoon olive oil
— Kosher salt
¾ cup crème fraîche
2 tablespoons best-quality Dijon mustard
— Zest of 1 lemon
2 teaspoons freshly squeezed lemon juice, plus more to taste
— Black pepper in a mill
Set the artichokes on a clean work surface and cut the stems even with the body of the artichoke, so that it stands upright.
Turn the artichoke on its side, hold it still with your nondominant hand, and use a sharp knife to cut off about one inch of its tip.
When all of the artichokes have been cut, set them upright and push slivers of garlic here and there among the leaves. Drizzle a little olive oil into the center of each one.
Put the artichokes into a deep saucepan that will hold them tightly. Add a tablespoon or so of salt and enough water to cover them.
Bring to a boil over high heat, reduce the heat, and simmer gently, covered, for 20 minutes. Uncover and use tongs to try to remove a leaf.
If it come out with just a bit of resistance, the artichokes are done. If not, continue to cook and test every 5 minutes. Do not overcook.
Remove from the water and let drain for a few minutes.
While the artichokes cook, make the sauce. To do so, put the crème fraîche into a small bowl, add the mustard and the lemon zest. Add a generous pinch of salt, pour the lemon juice on top of it, add several turns of black pepper, and stir.
Taste and correct for salt and acid. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.
Serve the artichokes hot or chilled, with the mustard cream alongside.
Michele Anna Jordan is author of the new “Good Cook’s” series. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit her blog at pantry.blogs.pressdemocrat.com.