Pairings: Chardonnay soars with lobster salad



Our Wine of the Week, Olema 2016 Sonoma County Chardonnay ($15), is a stand-out, especially for its price.

It is elegant and precise, with an appealing floral quality that continues to blossom as you sip. If you want to pay attention to individual flavors, you’ll likely notice pomelo, Meyer lemon, Golden Delicious apple, Comice pear, and a subtle flourish of vanilla bean.

There are wisps of smoke, too, an aroma carried on a breeze that suggests someone not too far away is cooking outside.

One of the singular joys of this wine is that you needn’t pay any attention to its separate flavors, as the wine is beautifully balanced and simply good. It is an easy quaffer, designed by its maker to be enjoyed. The alcohol, 13.8 percent, is not overbearing and acidity on the lingering finish keeps you refreshed.

The wine is, of course, excellent with shellfish. It is beautiful alongside carrots, perhaps in a carrot risotto.

Oven-roasted pork tenderloin with an apricot glaze is another good companion.

In the summer, you’ll enjoy it with fresh corn. Pasta with cream sauce and even shrimp with grits (see today’s Seasonal Pantry) make excellent companions.

For today’s recipe, I’m revisiting an old favorite, inspired by the delicious lobster rolls of New England.

Here, the lobster is served as a main course salad instead of as a sandwich.

It makes for a brighter dish that makes the wine soar.

Maine Lobster Salad

Makes 2 servings

2 Maine lobsters, about 1 to 1 1/4 pounds each

— Kosher salt

2 celery stalks, trimmed and cut into small dice

1 small shallot, minced

1/2 cup homemade or Best Foods brand mayonnaise

1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

1 teaspoon freshly-squeezed lemon juice, plus more to taste

— Scant 1/8 teaspoon vanilla extract, optional

1 tablespoon minced fresh Italian parsley

— Black pepper in a mill

2 big handfuls of Oak Leaf or similar lettuce, rinsed, dried and torn into medium pieces.

2 large slices brioche, toasted and cut into triangles

Fill a large pot two-thirds full with water, salt it generously and bring to a boil over high heat.

Plunge the lobsters, heads first, into the water and cook for about 8 minutes each, until the shells turn bright red.

While the lobsters are cooking, prepare an ice water bath in a bowl or sink big enough to hold both lobsters.

Transfer the cooked lobsters to the ice water and let cool for about 5 minutes.

Remove the tail meat and cut into bite-sized pieces. Remove the claw meat. Set aside.

Put the celery, shallot, mayonnaise, olive oil, lemon juice and vanilla into a bowl. Sprinkle in about a third of a teaspoon of salt before whisking thoroughly.

Taste, correct for salt and acid and add several turns of black pepper. Fold in the lobster.

Mound the lettuce on 2 plates and top with the lobster.

Garnish with claw meat and toast triangles and enjoy right away.

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