Sauvignon Blanc has over the years traveled a long and winding road toward achieving real respect as a grape varietal. Part of this has to do with the confusion over the name itself, sometimes confused with the name Fume Blanc, a name pioneered by Robert Mondavi in the 1970’s, in order to boost Sauvignon Blanc sales.
This being said, Sauvignon/Fume Blanc is one of the most food-friendly wines made on the planet. Some of the more appealing things about Sauvignon/Fume Blanc are that it’s dry, lower in alcohol and relatively light in oak influence.
Sauvignon/Fume Blanc can easily support spicy and assertively flavored dishes where Chardonnay, it’s big, very popular sister, falls short. It also matches extremely well with many soups and salads, which are often tricky with wine pairings. Lastly its acidity allows it to balance higher-acid foods, such as goat cheese and tomatoes quite well.
For all those reasons, we must pay due respect to Sauvignon/Fume Blanc. We must forgive it for not being Chardonnay. Allow it to be the “wild child.” We should appreciate it for what it offers: appealing aromas, a sassy fruit character, and excellent balance of fruit and acidity. And don’t forget – the price of Sauvignon/Fume Blanc is very reasonable.
As a chef with the challenge of a pairing, this varietal is a no brainer. Following are a few dishes that can be used in many circumstances, but with the thought of drinking Sauvignon Blanc.
WILD MUSHROOM AND GOAT CHEESE
Serves 6 – 8 as an hors-d’oeuvre or appetizer
2 oz. oyster mushrooms
4 oz. shiitake mushrooms
5 oz. Portobello mushrooms
1 tbs of butter
2 large garlic cloves, chopped
1 shallot, chopped
1/4 cup dry sherry
1/4 cup chicken stock
Pinch of fresh thyme
Pinch of fresh basil
Salt and red pepper flakes
16 slices of baguette
4 oz. of goat cheese, room temp.
Chop the mushrooms roughly. In a large sauté pan or skillet, add olive oil and butter and sauté shallot and garlic for a minute or two. Add the chopped mushrooms and cook for 5-6 minutes.
Add sherry and chicken stock and cook until all liquids are evaporated, add herbs.
Keep warm and set aside.
Preheat broiler. Put slices of baguette on a roasting pan, spread the goat cheese evenly, and divide the mushrooms onto the baguettes.
Place “bruschettas” under the broiler for 3- 4 minutes, or until golden brown.
ROASTED EGGPLANT AND GARLIC SOUP
1 large eggplant [salt and pepper]
1 whole head of garlic, olive oil
2 cups chopped onions
3 cups seeded, chopped tomatoes
1/2 cup chopped basil
1 tbs chopped fresh thyme
Pinch of red chilli flakes
4 1/2 cup chicken stock
Salt and pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 350 F.
Cut eggplant into 1 inch cubes, toss with salt and pepper, place on paper towel for 20 minutes, then pad dry. Transfer to a roasting pan, sprinkle with olive oil.
Cut head of garlic in half, wrap in aluminum foil with a splash of olive oil, salt and pepper… add the “package” to the roasting pan and bake in the oven for 15 minutes.
Remove eggplant, but continue roasting the garlic for another 35 minutes.
In a large soup pot sauté chopped onions, basil, thyme and chilli flakes for 5 minutes, squeeze cooked garlic out from husk and add to the onions.
Add eggplant, tomatoes and chicken stock. Bring soup to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes.
Puree the soup until smooth, season with salt and pepper to taste.
PORK CHOP “PICCATA” WITH
HOT–SWEET MUSTARD AND LIME SAUCE
1 teaspoon dry basil
1/2 teaspoon dry tarragon
1/2 teaspoon dry thyme
1/2 teaspoon dry rosemary [crumbled]
Salt and pepper
1 tbs flour
4 Pork Chops
1 tbs chopped shallots 2 1/2 tbs fresh lime
1/2 cup white wine
2 teaspoons of hot–sweet mustard
1/4 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
A few splashes of Tabasco
2 tbs of drained capers
In a small mixing bowl, combine basil, tarragon, thyme, rosemary, salt, pepper and flour, mix well. Place Pork chops on wax paper, and sprinkle evenly on both sides with herb mixture. In a skillet add olive oil, add shallots and the pork chops, sauté until golden brown, turn steaks and cook for another 2 minutes, add wine, lime juice, mustard, Worcestershire and Tabasco. Let pork chops simmer for 5 minutes more, remove chops and keep warm, reduce the sauce slightly, add capers.
Place pork chops on plates and top with sauce. Garnish with fresh lime and serve with mashed potatoes.
GRILLED SALMON ROASTED POBLANO AND
4 fresh salmon steaks
2 1/2 teaspoon Thai fish sauce
or soy sauce
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1 tbs fresh lime juice
1 1/2 teaspoon sesame oil
Chilli and citrus butter:
1 poblano chili pepper
1/2 stick of butter [room temperature]
2 teaspoons of fresh lime juice
Minced fresh chives
Mix fish sauce, Worcestershire, lime juice and sesame oil, season with salt and pepper, add salmon steaks and marinate for 2 hrs in cooler
Butter: Roast the poblano pepper in an oven for approximately 1/2 hour, remove peel and seeds. Place pepper in a mixer along with butter, lime juice and chives.
Process for 20 seconds until smooth, season with salt and pepper, set aside.
Grill the marinated salmon steaks, starting skin side down for 5 minutes, turn and finish with another 3 minutes, place steaks onto serving plates.
With a spoon add a generous dollop of the poblano pepper and lime butter onto each salmon steak.
This dish is great served alongside a salad, green vegetables or perhaps creamy polenta.
Well, I hope I inspired you to take a trip to your favorite wine store, a pit stop at the market and a great afternoon at the stove.
If not … Make reservations….
Much comfort to you and yours.
Jan Jorgensen, Jan Jorgensen is chef/owner of Two Chefs Restaurant, 8287 S. Dixie Hwy. Phone: 305- 663-2100; www.twochefsrestaurant.com.