Pairing: Foursight Wines' Sauvignon blanc and fattoush
Our Wine of the Week, Foursight 2014 Anderson Valley Charles Vineyard Sauvignon Blanc, reflects the season perfectly, with a refreshing coolness and a promise of warmth.
On first sip, there’s an engaging minerality, suggestive of water splashing on river rocks. It’s followed by a twinkle of acidity, but mid-palate something else emerges, an almost balmy sense of heat expressed in the plush mouth feel and the high notes of grapefruit, lime and pomelo.
What a delightful mid-spring quaffer.
You’ll enjoy the wine with the usual sauvignon blanc companions: avocado, asparagus, artichokes, kale, zucchini, green salads, fresh goat cheeses, sautéed fish, shellfish and pork tenderloin. This wine also will be excellent with roasted chicken, all manner of chicken salads, seafood salad and risotto.
Today’s recipe, a Mediterranean-style bread salad, is as inspired by the season as the wine is reflective of it. It is a casual recipe; you needn’t follow it precisely. Use the vegetables and herbs in your garden or from a market near you, and if you don’t have one of them, don’t worry about it.
Za-atar is a spice blend popular in northern Africa and the Middle East. Once hard to get, it is now easy to find almost anywhere, especially from our many local spice vendors.
Spring Fattoush with Green Garlic Vinaigrette
Serves 3 to 4
2-3 spring garlics, white tips only, crushed
— Kosher salt
1 teaspoon za’atar, sumac or grated lemon zest
— Black pepper in a mill
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
5-6 tablespoons olive oil
3 whole pitas, toasted until crisp
— Several leaves of romaine lettuce, cut into ½-inch wide crosswise pieces
1 cup fresh herbs (mix of Italian parsley, cilantro, oregano, basil, thyme, chervil and chives)
1 small red onion, cut into small dice
4-5 green onions, trimmed and thinly sliced
4-5 radishes, thinly sliced
4-5 fat asparagus spears, cooked, in 2-inch pieces
1/3 cup fresh blanched and peeled fava beans or English peas
1 small cucumber, peeled and cut into thin half rounds
¾ cup (3 ounces) feta cheese, crumbled
3-4 farm eggs, cooked for 4 minutes and shelled
Put the garlic into a suribachi or mortar, add a generous pinch of salt, and use a wooden pestle to grind it into a paste.
Add the za’atar and several turns of black pepper. Stir in the lemon juice and olive oil, taste and correct for salt and acid balance. Set aside.
Pour a little olive oil into a wide sauté pan, set over medium high heat and break the pita into the pan; they should be in small bite-sized pieces. Sauté, turning frequently, until lightly browned. Season with salt and pepper and tip out onto absorbent paper to drain.
To assemble the salad, put the lettuce, herbs, onions, radishes, asparagus, favas or peas, cucumber and cheese into a wide shallow bowl and toss together gently. Season lightly with salt, toss again, add the toasted pita chips and two-thirds of the dressing and toss one more time.
Use tongs to divide among individual plates, top each portion with an egg, spoon the remaining dressing on top, season with a little more salt and pepper and enjoy right away.
-- Michele Anna Jordan