Happy International Sherry Week 2017! This year more than twenty-five countries are celebrating Sherry week with special events and tastings. I’m celebrating it by creating a pour and pair blog. Since I’m currently living in Nova Scotia, I decided to create a dish with local products of the season and pair it with a Sherry wine. So, here is all the story behind my pour and pair:
When we talk about Nova Scotia cuisine, the first thing that comes to mind is lobster. In Nova Scotia, there are abundant and tasty lobsters with easy access: Even in the supermarkets there are lobster aquariums, where you can choose your lobster. You can buy them alive, or they boil it there for you, after less than half an hour, your lobster is ready to go home with you.
Going to farmers’ markets in autumn in Nova Scotia is a blast. You can fill your shopping basket full of the fresh products, creating a picturesque scenery with all the colors; different tonalities of green, yellow, orange, red, purple…. Not only your shopping basket, also your soul will be full of joy and satisfaction. I brought home some seasonal and locally grown vegetables and fruits; sweet potatoes, purple potatoes, squash, sunchokes, corn, carrots, blueberries and apples.
To have a special touch and a harmony in the plate, I also used some herbs and almonds. This will be a sauce to bring together all the elements of the side dish and combine with nutty flavors of Manzanilla. I also used maple syrup, since we cannot think of a dish that represents Canada without it. Moreover, it pairs perfectly with the aromas of Manzanilla.
Almond-herb sauce ingredients:
- Roasted almond (1 cup)
- Mint (1/3 bunch)
- Parsley (1/3 bunch)
- Dill (1/3 bunch)
- Olive oil (1/4 cup)
Side dish ingredients:
- Sweet potatoes (2 big)
- Butter for the purée (1/4 cup)
- Corn (1)
- Carrot (1 bunch)
For maple glazing of carrots:
Main dish ingredients:
- Maple syrup (3 tbsp)
- Soy sauce (2 tbsp)
- Olive oil (2 tbsp)
- Apple cider vinegar (1 tbsp)
- 2 Nova Scotia lobsters (medium size, about a pound)
1) For almond-herb sauce, put all the ingredients in a food processor and mix them until its texture becomes like crunchy peanut butter. Put it aside.
2) Bring a pot of water to boil and boil the sweet potatoes until they can easily be mashed. When they were ready, add some butter, salt and pepper and mashed them until it had a smooth texture.
3) Put the corn in the boiling water, but only for a couple of minutes, to be able to cut them into round pieces.
4) Preheat the oven to 400 °F.
5) In a large bowl, mix the maple glazing ingredients. With the help of a brush, cover all the carrots with the mixture and put them on a baking sheet. Bake the carrots for 20 minutes and afterwards turn them and continue baking for another 10 minutes.
6) De-shell the lobster. Take the meat out from the claws, use a little bit of melted salted butter just to spread a thin layer on top.
7) Plate all the elements on serving plates.
Manzanilla Papirusa, Bodegas Lustau
Manzanilla is a dry white wine from Palomino grapes and aged under a layer of yeast called flor, with a traditional aging system called criaderas y soleras, which allows homogenous aging of all the wines in the cellar.
Let’s taste the wine. It’s clear and bright, and has golden color. It has a delicate intensity at first, but it blooms in your glass like a flower. The aromas are very complex; jasmine, chamomile, orange zest, almond, walnut, baking yeast and sea salt. It’s bone dry with medium acidity, totally balanced, round and easy to drink although it has fifteen degrees of alcohol. It confirms the aromas in the nose, and it finishes with a crisp sensation of a touch of saltiness. It’s an outstanding wine that shows the characteristics of Manzanilla with elegance.
This pairing is an unexpected union of two continents and two different climates on one table. Who would have thought the humid salty air of Sanlúcar de Barrameda would meet the cold water of Nova Scotia?
Lobster as a main element of the dish, which is a good companion of Manzanilla even alone. All the other components of the plate correspond to the components of Manzanilla. Texture-wise, the crunchiness of roasted almonds and smoothness of the sweet potato purée in the dish matches with the crispiness created by the iodine touch and smoothness created by alcohol in the wine. Freshness of the wine finds its match with mint and other herbs in the green sauce. Flavor-wise, roasted almonds, maple syrup and soy sauce match with the aromas found in the wine. All in all, it is a complementary pairing that will satisfy your eyes, nose and stomach.
Apart from the technical matching, this pairing has a special meaning for me, since it reminds me of the great visit that I’ve made in Andalusia and blends it with my new adventure in Nova Scotia. It’s amazing to be able to put different ingredients on the table and create a union which represents different experiences in my life.
Finally, I am raising my glass for all the Sherry wine lovers, who appreciate them, make efforts to understand them and introduce them all over the world. I also would like to thank the organizers of International Sherry Week for making it possible for me to create this pairing.
All images © 2017 by Wines of Neslihan. All rights reserved.