Our Wine of the Week, Smith Story 2017 Sonoma County Sauvignon Blanc ($25), is a treasure at this time of year. No matter how much we may love red wines, it is hard to find one that is refreshing when it’s 100 degrees. You can, of course, put a Beaujolais or even a pinot noir in the refrigerator for an hour or so but a crisp white wine with good minerality is almost always a better choice when temperatures soar.
This wine is delightful, with a high melody line of citrus, especially lemon and lime, and plenty of that delightful quality that suggests wet concrete or river rocks. It is pleasingly lean, in a way that most French sauvignon blancs are but that most California wines are not. It has depth but is not plush or rich. It is light and bright on the palate, which is just what we need in hot weather.
The wine is also good year round, including in the dead of winter when temperatures drop, but that’s a topic for another time. It’s July and we’re hot.
When it comes to pairing the wine with burgers, there are many options, including beef, bison, lamb, turkey, salmon, shrimp, mushrooms and the melange of ingredients known as “veggie burgers” and “garden burgers.” If you are a traditionalist and want a rare hamburger and wish to enjoy it with this white wine, add the grated zest of a lemon to the meat and forego such condiments as ketchup and mustard, which will eclipse the wine’s delicacy. Instead, use good mayonnaise or aioli, thinly sliced red onion, sliced avocado and lettuce.
For today’s recipe, inspiration comes from the weather and from avocados, which are abundant, delicious and cheap right now. The shrimp burgers are delicious but you can use the avocado sauce on whatever type of burger your prefer.
Shrimp & Chicken Burgers With Avocado Sauce
Makes 6 servings
— Avocado Sauce (recipe follows)
1 pound wild shrimp, peeled, deveined and chopped
1/2 pound ground chicken, preferably from thigh meat
1 large egg, beaten
1/2 cup Panko or other breadcrumbs
1 serrano, stemmed, seeded, deveined and minced
3 garlic cloves, minced
— Grated zest of 1 lime
— Kosher salt
— Black pepper in a mill
— Coconut oil, mild olive oil or lard, for frying
6 individual ciabatta or other rolls of choice, cut in half crosswise
— Crisp lettuce leaves
First make the avocado sauce and refrigerate it. This may be done several hours in advance.
At least an hour before serving, mix the burger ingredients. Put the shrimp and chicken into a medium bowl and mix thoroughly. Add the egg, Panko, serrano, garlic and lime zest and mix again. Season generously with salt and several turns of black pepper.
Divide into six even pieces, set on a plate, cover and refrigerate at least 1 hour and as long as 3 or 4 hours.
To finish, remove the mixture from the refrigerator.
Put enough oil or lard into a heavy skillet to coat it thoroughly and set over medium high heat.