Happy International Sherry Week 2017 to everyone! According to good news, this year more than 25 countries are celebrating Sherry week with special events and tastings. Me, being lucky, I am celebrating it by creating a pour & pair blog. Since I am currently living in Nova Scotia, I’ve 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 & pair:
When I think about Nova Scotia cuisine, the first thing that comes to my 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’ market in autumn in Nova Scotia had been a blast. As my shopping basket was getting full with the fresh products, they were creating a picturesque scenery with all the colors; different tonalities of green, yellow, orange, red, purple…. my soul was also getting full with joy and satisfaction. That is actually why I’ve decided to carry this excitement and feeling of harvest time on my dish. So, I’ve bought some of the seasonal and locally grown vegetables and fruits; sweet potatoes, purple potatoes, squash, sunchokes, corn, carrots, bluberries and apples. Unfortunately, I cannot use them all in one dish, so I’ve chosen only couple of them to use.
In order to have a special touch and a harmony in the plate, I’ve made a green sauce with some herbs and almonds. This sauce brings together all the elements of the side dish and also it combines perfectly with nutty flavors of Manzanilla. Another sauce that I’ve used for this dish is maple syrup, since I cannot think a dish that represents Canada without it. Moreover it goes perfectly with the aromas of Manzanilla.
Main dish ingredients:
- 2 Nova Scotia lobsters (medium size, about a pound)
Side dish ingredients:
- Sweet potatoes (2 big)
- Butter for the purée (1/4 cup)
- Corn (1)
- Carrot (1 bunch)
For glazing carrots:
- Maple syrup (3 tbsp)
- Soy sauce (2 tbsp)
- Olive oil (2 tbsp)
- Apple cider vinegar (1 tbsp)
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)
How I made it?
First of all, I’ve made my green sauce by putting all the ingredients in a small blender and mixing them until its texture became like crunchy peanut butter. When I had that ready, I’ve put it aside.
On the other hand, I’ve brought a pot of water to boil and boiled the sweet potatoes until they can easily be mashed. When they were ready, I’ve added some butter, salt and pepper and mashed them until it had a smooth texture.
I’ve also put the corns in the boiling water, but only for a couple of minutes, to be able to cut them into round pieces, because actually the local corns are so delicious that you can even eat them raw, they have a very good sweetness and freshness.
In the mean time, I’ve heat the oven to 400 °F. In a large bowl, I’ve mixed the ingredients for the maple glaze of the carrots. With a help of a brush, I’ve covered all the carrots with the mixture and put them on a baking sheet. I’ve baked the carrots for 20 minutes and afterwards I’ve turned them and continued baking for another 10 minutes.
The most difficult part of eating lobsters is to take the meat out of the shell. In the first trials, it was definitely painful, but with practice it becomes easier. After I take the meat out from the claws, I’ve used a little bit of melted salted butter just to spread a thin layer on top. This gives them a bright color and a touch of saltiness.
Finally, as all the elements were ready, I’ve prepared the plates to serve them, in harmony.
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. (You can visit my previous article, Sherrylandia for more details on production of Sherry wines, from soil types to winery architectures.)
The wine that I’ve made my pairing is called Manzanilla Papirusa, from Bodegas Lustau. So, let’s taste the wine. This wine is clear and bright, has golden color. In the nose, 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. In the mouth; it’s bone dry with medium acidity, totally balanced, round and easy to drink although it has 15 degrees of alcohol. It confirms the aromas in the nose and it finishes with a crisp sensation of a touch of saltiness. In my personal opinion, it’s an outstanding wine that shows the characteristics of Manzanilla with elegancy.
This pairing is an unexpected union of two continents and two different climates on one table. Who would have think 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, corresponds to the components of Manzanilla. Texture-wise, 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 the great time that I’ve passed in Andalusia together 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.
I hope you enjoyed the pairing that I’ve created, as much as I do. Let me know if you try it out yourself at home!
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 Nedret Neslihan IVIT. All rights reserved.