If Sauvignon Blanc had a BFF, it just might be salmon (or any seafood for that manner). What accouterments goes with seafood? Lemon. And for that, Sauvignon Blanc is waiting in the wings ready to pair at a moment's notice. This particular salmon recipe is near and dear to my heart as it was pretty much the first recipe I ever posted.
Living in Portland, Oregon for 17 years, I had my fair share of fresh seafood. If my Omega-3's weren't up to snuff before living there, they are now. When I first fell in love with wine in the late '90's, I used to go to Wildwood on Northwest 23d Avenue for Chef Cory Schreiber's creations that exemplified Farm-to-Table before it became en vogue. Chef Schreiber used to do this dish, and like many of his creations, it was ideal for a wine pairing. Wildwood always had the right stemware to go with whatever wine I had that night.
For this dish, you'll find a light, healthy main course packed with lots of flavor, yet the salmon will be light and flaky due to cooking in white wine for moistness.
For Sauvignon Blanc you can go with a new world style from the U.S., New Zealand or Chile, or an old world gem from Loire, which is pretty much the best place in the world to grow Sauvignon Blanc due to cool climates and limestone soils.
But I look to Australia for this particular pairing. Tom Foolery is a little known winery out of Barossa that's keen on finding special plots of land where grapes have typicite (including their Cabernet Franc from Barossa Valley that's off the charts).
As one drives south from the balmy Barossa Valley towards Adelaide on the back roads, the elevation grows higher and cooler. Once you arrive in the Adelaide Hills, you're in a unique location in Southern Australia where the only thing protecting you from the winds of Antarctica is a single landform known as Mount Lofty. If Mount Lofty weren't there, vines (and people) in the Adelaide Hills would damn near freeze up.
Tom Foolery 'Sauvie B' is a hidden gem falling on the scale somewhere between Eden Valley Riesling and Sauvignon Blanc from Quincy in Loire Valley. On the palate, it carries a similar weight as the salmon, yet carries a healthy level of acidic backbone from that cool, cool high elevation vineyard. The lemon/lime zest thing comes out on the nose as well as the palate, and when the wine meets the lingering flavors on your taste buds, it's a symphony in your mouth.
Don't take my word for it—try this dish with a Sauvignon Blanc you like to see how it goes.
INGREDIENTS FOR THE VINAIGRETTE (MAKE AHEAD)
1 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup fresh basil, thinly sliced
1/2 of a red onion, thinly sliced
1 TBSP Dijon mustard
1/4 Sherry Vinegar
1 TBSP capers, drained
Salt and Pepper to taste
Whisk together all ingredients in a medium sized bowl ahead of time to allow flavors to mingle together. Keep at room temperature until ready to use.
INGREDIENTS FOR SALMON
1 piece salmon per serving (Whole Foods will remove skin for you)
1/2 cup fresh chopped herbs (basil, thyme, tarragon, parsley)
Leftover white wine used for cooking
Salt and Pepper to taste
1. Preheat oven to 325°.
2. In a cookie sheet pour a thin film of white wine. This will help keep the salmon moist during cooking.
3. Place deskinned salmon pieces in cookie sheet and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Chop herbs and cover each piece of salmon.
4. Bake 35-40 minutes in the oven. Remove from oven and serve with or without lemon on the side. Serve vinaigrette on the side to allow guests to spoon on to their liking.