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Deconstructed Paella with Sauvignon Blanc

Here is a “cooking with wine” rule I hate – the only white wine you can cook with is a dry Chardonnay. Wrong! Cook with whatever wine you like to drink and build your recipe around it. My favorite white wine has always been Sauvignon Blanc and a favorite meal of mine is Paella – so let’s put them together. What’s stopping us? This paella has a “Jackie” twist to it with lots of smoked paprika and pineapple.

I love that the Murphy Goode ‘The Fume’ Sauvignon Blanc was predominately fermented in stainless steel to keep it crisp but then thrown into some French and American barrels to add the depth oak always brings. A perfect balance!

3 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
2 large garlic cloves, grated
1 cup jasmine rice
1 tablespoon tumeric
2 tablespoons smoked paprika
2 tablespoons salt
1 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
1 ½ quarts chicken stock
3/4 cup panko bread crumbs
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 lb hot chorizo sausage
1 medium onion, diced
½ cup Murphy Goode Sauvignon Blanc
1 lb mussels; cleaned
1 lb shrimp; peeled, deveined and tails removed
1 cup diced fresh pineapple
1 tablespoon fresh chives, diced

Rice: Add 1 teaspoon olive oil to small pot. Add garlic, cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add rice, turmeric, 1 tablespoon each smoked paprika and salt. Toast in pot for about 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Add 2 cups stock, cover and simmer for 10-12 minutes, until rice is cooked.

Rice Cakes: Once rice has cooled, add egg and form 4 patties, 1 inch thick.  Pour panko into a shallow bowl. Press each rice cake into panko to create a crust. Add 1 teaspoon olive oil to a non-stick pan over medium heat. Cook rice cakes until panko crust becomes golden brown and rice cakes heat through.

Stock: Add remaining olive oil to a large pot. Add chorizo, cook until brown.  Add onion and remaining garlic, smoked paprika, salt and pepper. Cook until onion softens, 3-4 minutes. Add wine to deglaze pan.  Add remaining chicken stock and bring to a simmer.

Add mussels and shrimp, cover and continue to simmer until cooked through, about 5 minutes.  Just before serving add pineapple. To plate pour stock over rice cake and top with chives.

Murphy Goode ‘The Fume’ Sauvignon Blanc:

Prosciutto and Melon Makes a Meal; Wither Hills Sauvignon Blanc

My favorite meals usually start with a traditional recipe that’s been flipped upside down and turned into something completely different; while still keeping the flavors that made it great to begin with.  Does that make sense? To explain further, this meal is the perfect example. Everyone loves the traditional Italian appetizer of melon and prosciutto. The sweet, creamy melon versus the sharp, salty prosciutto defines a sweet and salty balance perfectly. The only problem is, prosciutto and melon on it’s own is not substantial enough to be a main course. Not until now that is…

A full flavored, acidic wine like the 2010 Wither Hills Sauvignon Blanc pairs well with the pungent anise flavor of fennel and in this dish fresh fennel adds a needed crunch.  This vintage has a background aroma of melon that is begging to be brought to life, and fresh melon will do just that. Since we have three of the four S’s of a culinary experience (sweet, salty, savory), we might as well add the 4th (spicy) with a homemade chili oil.  Not too spicy to overpower the vibrance of the wine, just spicy enough to add a punch of flavor.

4 red snapper fillets, skins removed
4oz prosciutto, thinly sliced
Salt, pepper
1 teaspoon olive oil
2 ripe mangoes
1 bulb fennel, thinly sliced
2 teaspoons red pepper flakes
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon, finely diced chives

Lightly season snapper with salt and pepper.  Prosciutto will provide some salt, so be careful with what you add.

Cover one side of snapper with slices of prosciutto (however many it takes to cover top and sides of fish). Press into the fish and let rest 5 minutes.

Heat olive oil in non-stick skillet over medium-high heat.  Add snapper, prosciutto side down and cook until crispy, about 3 minutes. Flip fish and cook on opposite side for another 3 minutes. Remove from pan and keep warm in oven. Continue with remaining fillets.

Remove peel from mango and cut flesh off center pit. Slice into rounds, about ½ inch thick.

Wisk red pepper flakes and EVOO in small dish until incorporated. Add salt and pepper to taste.

To plate: First layer several slices of mango on the bottom of the plate. Then layer in slices of fennel. Top with fish and then drizzle just
about 1 teaspoon of chili oil. Decorate plate with chives.

What Exactly is Fume Blanc?

Robert Mondavi's Private Reserve Fume Blanc

Robert Mondavi's Private Reserve Fume Blanc

It works everytime, add a “Fume Blanc” to a tasting menu in the category of Sauvignon Blanc and you are sure to get some confused patrons.  So what exactly is Fume Blanc?

Before the 1970’s Sauvignon Blanc was thought to be an inferior grape….even though the first cuttings of Sav Blanc were brought over to California in the 1880’s from Chateau d’Yguem – the premier Sauternes vineyard in France…but enough about that.  Sauvignon Blanc (or Sav Blanc as many refer to it) was made to sweet for American taste and therefore was not the easiest wine to sell for domestic producers.

Enter Robert Mondavi, who even a the beginning of the California wine movement, was a force to be reckoned with.  Mondavi produced an excellent (and large) crop of Sauvignon Blanc grapes in 1966 and was adamant about selling the grapes as a premier wine.  He eventually bottled and released the 100% Sauvignon Blanc wine under a new name, Fume Blanc.

Today Fume Blanc is merely a pseudonym for a domestic Sauvignon Blanc, but can vary in style slightly.  Some producers of Fume Blanc use the production methods Mondavi did in that first vintage – aging it in oak barrels – to set it apart from the competition and create an unique twist on the varietal.

Here are some of my favorite Fume Blancs:

Grgich Hills Fume Blanc, 2008
100% Sauvignon Blanc from the cooler Napa County regions of Carneros and American Canyon.  Aged for six months on the lees (s

Grgich Hills Fume Blanc

Grgich Hills Fume Blanc

tems of the grapes) in French oak barrels, 80% neutral (used previous to this vintage), 20% new.  Flavors of grapefruit and melon, with green vegetable flavors and balanced acidity.
$30, or Buy 2, Get 1 FREE (Coupon code: BUY2)

Robert Mondavi Private Reserve Fume Blanc, 2008
The original Fume Blanc.  92% Sauvignon Blanc, 8% Semillon from Stags Leap District,  Oakville, Napa Valley and Northern California.  68% of the grapes were fermented in French oak barrels, with the remainder in stainless steel tanks to maintain freshness of the grapes’ flavor.  Lime, lemongrass and a hint of spice.