Pairing: Unusual white shines with spring veggies
Our Wine of the Week, Sidebar 2018 Lodi Mokelumne River Kerner ($25) is a wonder, with a mysterious flair and delightful flavor profile.
The first few sips are refreshing in an entirely new way, with an upfront crispness and minerality, qualities that, in many other varietals, show up midpalate and on the finish.
This one expresses itself in reverse, with interesting flavors emerging after that initial burst of wet concrete and river rocks.
Citrus zest comes first, followed by suggestions of celery and dried mango, which is pleasingly subtle. The wine is fully dry and the fruit flavors impart no suggestion of sweetness. Anyone who prefers a crisp white without a lot of fruit or floral characteristics will adore this wine.
At the table, you’ll enjoy it with seafood, from oysters on the half shell and steamed clams to sautéed Petrale sole and flounder. It is so ideal with fish that it will be tempting to take a bottle with you the next time you head out for sushi and sashimi.
The wine is also excellent with lightly pickled vegetables, spring radishes, sautéed fennel and celery, sugar snap peas, English peas, nettles and kale. When it comes to cheese, feta and ricotta salata are the best matches.
Raw Kale Salad with Celery, Radishes & Feta
Makes 3 to 4 servings
1 bunch Lacinato kale, rinsed, dried, central stems removed
— Kosher salt
3 garlic cloves, pressed
6 tablespoons best-quality extra virgin olive oil
— Juice of 1 lime, plus more to taste
— Black pepper in a mill
2 celery stalks, cut into very thin diagonal wedges’
6-8 radishes, preferably French Breakfast, cut in thin lengthwise slices
4 ounces feta cheese, in small chunks
Stack several leaves on a clean work surface, roll them tightly lengthwise and cut into ⅛-inch wide crosswise slices.
Continue until all the leaves have been cut. Put the leaves into a deep bowl, use your fingers to separate and fluff them and season with several generous pinches of salt.
After adding the salt, massage the leaves for several minutes; alternately, you can use a wooden pestle to pound them, not too vigorously, until they relax.
Add half the garlic, half the olive oil, half the lime juice, and several turns of black pepper, toss, cover and set aside for about 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, put the remaining garlic, olive oil and lime juice into a bowl, season with salt and several turns of black pepper and stir well.
To finish the salad, add the celery and radishes to the kale, toss gently, add the dressing and toss again. Add the feta cheese and give the salad one quick toss. Taste, correct for salt and pepper and enjoy right away.
Michele Anna Jordan is the author of 24 books to date, including “The Good Cook’s Book of Oil & Vinegar.”