Saturday, July 26, 2014

Three Winners Of Jury Duty Week

Sequestered Jury Duty Week!

Coming home to Jamie Oliver Greekiness and Matthiasson Tendu White washed all the exhaustion and mild frustration that comes with sequestration right away.

Greek chicken, from Jamie Oliver's new CBS Saturday morning show, 15 Minute Meals. It's loud and flashy and boom-boom-boom, cut-cut-cut, but it's Jamie Oliver making quality food that speaks to our stomach. As per usual.

Swapping out the regular couscous for whole-wheat Israeli and adding avocado and sweet corn to the salad were the major changes from the above-linked recipe. The result was punchy, herby chicken, a big mound of couscous salad consisting of ten different delicious flavors dancing in step with each other, a minty tzatziki to slather on anything we darn well pleased. This was good as 15-minute lunchy food gets.

The last time we had the 2013 Matthiasson Tendu White ($20 - Vin Chicago), about six weeks ago with chicken Milanese, it was deliciously simple with echoes of complexity that allowed it to go deeper with the food. Completely different this time. Where we maybe missed a briny, ocean quality that comes from good vermentino last time, at its core this time were seashells, minerals and herbs all over the place! Framed by its citrus but defined by a distinct, attention-getting ocean-mineral center. Loved, loved, loved it. Bought four more. It's a liter bottle, it's 12.8% alcohol, and it's pretty great stuff. With the food, it fit like a glove. When the 2014 round-up happens a few months from now, this will be on the list as one of the best of the year, at the top of the 'perfectly simple and perfectly perfect' category.

Anne Burrell chicken Milanese with 2013 Sigalas Assyritiko Santorini ($20 - Binny's) was also certainly in the same ballpark. Not as good a pairing as Greek chicken but still quite good. Panko-parmesan crust on the chicken with a beet, sheep feta and arugula salad. Michael Symon pickled red onions. House fav. Always.

I initially thought the Sigalas was a bad bottle. A second sip debunked that initial thought. Oddly delicious umami quality at its core, like cheese or mushroom essence, yet pear notes and sturdy citrus acid backing it up. Long, layered, defined segues. A three-act play and loved the surprises. Solid pairing in every respect.

Duck leg confit with red currant chutney, BBQ sauce, garlic scapes and a Trader Joe's potato pancakes, served with 2012 Broc Cellars Carbonic Carignan Alexander Valley ($30-ish - Pastoral). We abandoned the red currant chutney rather quick-like due to its tartness that clashed with the wine. Light and airy BBQ sauce (Symon) was more forgiving and delicious. TJ's potato pancakes are another house fav, as they're a blank slate you can slide in as a starch that's not too heavy and not too light. Oniony potato happiness. Garlic scapes = chewy but lovely. A lot of goodness here in the food realm, but the star was the Broc Cellars Carbonic Carignan. Felt too thin right away, but developed a push-up bra-type structure with the food, giving red fruits and mossy notes with an real intensity and presence. A swirly kaleidoscope of flavors and we just loved every second of it. Fascinating stuff.

Note: Chorizo-potato tacos with roasted veggie salsa (GREAT salsa), guac-sour cream goop and quick-pickle onions. Opened a 2009 Mark Herold Collide ($25 - Binny's), a petite sirah, tempranillo, graciano & cabernet blend. Immediately fell flat. No lift. A 2011 Neyers Sage Canyon Red, a bargain Rhône blend, fared better, offering a nice vibrancy, but nothing stood out in the pairing.              

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