Pairing: Chenin blanc shines with seafood
Our Wine of the Week, Husch Vineyards 2017 Anderson Valley Chenin Blanc ($13) is a pretty thing, with a brightness that is both refreshing and engaging. It is as fragrant and beautiful as a summer flower garden, with aromas and flavors that move in and out of our awareness, as if carried on a gentle fall breeze.
You’ll notice hints of green honeydew melon, citrus zest, white nectarine, white peach, mangosteen and limestone kissed by a morning drizzle. There’s just the slightest suggestion of sweetness, too.
The wine is a natural with almost any kind of seafood, including oysters on the half shell, New England clam chowder and Petrel sole in a simple butter and lemon sauce. You may want to have a few bottles on hand for Thanksgiving, too, as it will be flattered by roast turkey and all the fixin’s. It’s also a good wine to enjoy with fall tomatoes.
When Dungeness crab season comes around in a couple of months, remember this wine, as it will pair beautifully with traditional crab Louis and with crab macaroni and cheese, such as the one served at Nick’s Cove a couple of years ago.
Pasta with cream-based sauce, from fettuccine Alfredo to linguini with tomato-vodka sauce, welcome the wine alongside
Today’s recipe is inspired by the incredibly fresh and delicious snapper that Oliver’s Markets had last week and will, with luck, still have. Any white-fleshed flat fish will do, including Petrale sole and flounder, though I do not recommend tilapia or any other farmed fish.
You’ll notice I skip a traditional step in this recipe, that of dredging the fish in white flour that has been seasoned with salt and pepper, a process that forms a very light delicate crust on this fish. I made it this way accidentally — I was not cooking at home and had forgotten my flour — and the results were so delicious, with nothing eclipsing the flavor of the fish, that I have ended up loving how it pairs with this wine.
Wild Snapper with Butter, Lemon, Garlic & Capers
Makes 3 to 4 servings
1¼ pounds wild snapper fillets, as fresh as possible
— Kosher salt
6 tablespoons butter, preferably clarified
— Black pepper in a mill
3 cups Earthworker Farms salad mix, radish sprouts or small-leaf arugula
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice, plus more to taste
2 teaspoons capers, drained
Season the snapper all over with salt.
Put half the butter into a large sauté pan set over high heat. When it is melted, add the snapper in a single layer and cook for 3 minutes. Season with black pepper, turn and cook 4 minutes more, or until the fish is cooked through; do not overcook it.
While the fish cooks, divide the greens among 3 or 4 plates.
Transfer the fish, placing it on top of the greens.
Working quickly, add the remaining butter to the pan, along with the lemon juice and capers, and cook until it thickens slightly. Taste, carefully, and adjust for salt and pepper. Spoon the sauce over the fish and enjoy right away.
Michele Anna Jordan is the author of 24 books to date, including “San Francisco Seafood.” Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.