Nothing says super food like fresh kale. This kale salad recipe comes from my dear friend Suzanne who picked the kale from her bountiful garden and then tossed it with 5 simple ingredients. It was the first time I had eaten kale on its own, raw and it was delicious. Usually, I cook it with a little oil, butter, garlic and salt or chop it up and toss it into a spaghetti sauce or lasagna (excellent way to sneak this green into your kids). This is a hearty salad that can be served on its own, with grilled thick-cut pork chops or go lighter with a baked white fish. The pork chops were marinated in a citrus base and the fish was the result of having too many tomatoes and olives on hand that were soon to be past their prime. The results were delicious summer meals, perfect for outdoor dining.
Instead of my usual top pick, playing it safe and off the beaten track selections, I have decided to pair one wine with each of Karlin’s three delightful recipes. It can sometimes be difficult to find specific producers if your local wine shop doesn’t carry them, so I tried to provide as many producers from multiple regions as I could. Happy drinking!
The kale salad has bright, refreshing summery flavors. I would choose a wine that complements the flavors instead of contrasting, such as Sauvignon Blanc. Typical aromas include grapefruit, passion fruit, gooseberry, freshly cut grass, tarragon, chervil, jalapeno, bell pepper skin, sugar snap peas and cat pee. Sauvignon Blanc can be found in many different regions of the world, most notably Sancerre, Bordeaux, New Zealand and California. Sancerre tends to have a strong mineral presence due to the Kimmeridgian soils. Bordeaux is a blend of Sauvignon Blanc and Semillon and usually sees some oak aging, which gives it fuller body. The aromas jumping out of the glass of New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc will smack you across the face. This is where you will find the most pronounced aromas of cat pee and the green flavors caused by the chemical compound of methoxypyrazine. And California versions are simply fruit bombs predominantly of citrus. Budget friendly selections from each region include Hippolyte Reverdy from Sancerre, France; Château Ducasse from Gaves, Bordeaux; Churton from Marlborough, New Zealand; and Brander from Santa Ynez, California.
The Pork has an Asian flair with the soy sauce, honey, sesame oil and ginger. To contrast the saltiness of the soy sauce and to complement the sweet honey and ginger, I recommend a new world Riesling. New world basically means the wine is not from Europe. They typically have more fruit flavors as opposed to secondary terrior-driven flavors, have higher alcohol and are fully bodied. Aromas include lime zest, star fruit, ripe melon, white peach, kumquat, apricot, flint and petrol. They have a hint of sweetness, which is wonderfully balanced by its naturally high acidity and a clean, refreshing finish. From Columbia Valley, Washington, try either Long Shadows Poet’s Leap or Charles Smith’s Kung Fu Girl. From Australia, I recommend Yalumba Y, from South Australia, Leeuwin Estate from Margaret River and Kilikanoon “Mort’s Block” Watervale Reserve from Clare Valley.
This Red Snapper has strong Mediterranean flavors with the olives, tomatoes and shallots. What grows together, drinks together. Therefore, a dry, crisp white from the same region would pair beautifully. The Red Snapper is a firm whitish meat with a sweet and mild flavor. Its delicacy needs a wine that is not going to overwhelm you with flavor, or oak. Try a northern Italian Pinot Grigio from either Friuli-Venezia or Alto Adige. Typical aromas include lemon rind, melon, peanut shell and flat beer. It has a bitter finish, higher acidity and is light bodied. Some of my favorite producers are Jermann, Scarpetta and St. Michael Eppan Anger. Two domestic producers that I like are Ponzi from Columbia Valley and Martin Ray from Mendocino County.