Inferior Good: Diminishing Marginal Stupidity in Action

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Mmmm, shellfish and white wine

I had E.F. Glutton over for dinner last Wednesday while my wife was out with her girlfriends. It was a good opportunity for me to make some shellfish, since a) my wife is currently avoiding shellfish, and b) I’ve been dying for an excuse to pull out a few white wines that happen to be shellfish friendly.

Lemony crab salad with baby greens paired with the 2005 Horton Viognier started us off. I recommend using less olive oil and including a big, fat lemon wedge garnish, as this salad needed more acidity. Also, it’s worth getting quality crab meat, for if the crab is bland the salad will be bland (unfortunately, I lazily bought crab from my local grocery store instead of the seafood store near my house). The delicious Horton Viognier will get a full post later today. We loved this wine.

Next we enjoyed a small serving of pan-seared scallops with champagne grapes and almonds (the same dish I talked about here). This time I seared the scallops perfectly, but the sauce came out a bit thin. I think one should use medium-high heat for the scallops, but probably only medium heat for the sauce. Still, great flavors.

We finished off the Horton and opened up a bottle of the 2003 Sakonnet Vidal Blanc, Southeastern New England. E.F. Glutton loved this Rhode Island wine a year ago and very thoughtfully picked me up a bottle during a recent trip to Beantown. The 2001 vintage was featured as one of ten All-American wines in Food & Wine Magazine.

E.F. and I were very excited about this wine, but alas we were disappointed. The Sakonnet tasted flat in comparison with the Horton. While it delivered some nice richness, it lacked bright fruit flavors. E.F. wondered if the wine hadn’t passed it’s prime. Don’t get me wrong, this was an enjoyable wine. It unfortunately didn’t meet our high expectations, however. To be fair, it’d have been tough for any wine tasted after the Horton.

Our entrée was a simple and delicious Seafood Catizone. The crushed fennel and basil matched well with the scallops and shrimp. Once again, a lemon wedge garnish amplified the flavors (and seemed to improve the Sakonnet as well). I was pleased with this dish, though next time I’ll try adding a splash of white wine. Epicurios strikes again!

Finally, for dessert we enjoyed some excellent smoked Gouda and the 2004 Josef Leitz Rudesheimer Drachenstein. I feel this wine lacks the acidity needed to balance its conspicuous sweetness. While pleasant as a desert, I probably wouldn’t enjoy it that much in another context. Keep in mind that I tend towards dry, acidic whites. If you like sweet wines, this may be for you. (Photo: Leo Gong/Bon Appetit)

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