Thursday, April 16, 2015

Galician Tuna Empanada With 2012 Forlorn Hope Que Saudade

Savory pie and salad. It's a house favorite.

Here's a great version, brought to the world by Anya von Bremzen from her cookbook The New Spanish Table. When Ms. von Bremzen tells you how to make a dish, that's how you make it. Don't be dubious or "creative." She knows more. Make it once, see how you like it, and THEN maybe think of different fillings you might use.

Saffron dough. Filling of tuna, peppers, onions, tomatoes, garlic, olive oil, paprika, you see the recipe link. Make the dough, sauté up the filling, compile it into sheet pan pie and place in oven. Not super-easy, not super-hard in the least, just takes some time. Just don't make mahmoul and ham balls at the same time. It leads to a feeling of a kitchen prison from which you seemingly will never escape.

We loved the snot out of this. Just went crazy for it. The tuna got lost just a wee bit, but all the other "stuff" made up for it. Perfect touch of saffron. Cleansing arugula salad on the side. It has it all. Savory pie and salad. It's so damn Good.

And for some reason, savory pie and salad usually makes for a very good wine pairing in this house. Maybe it's something about the dough/crust that softens the edges of the food, allowing the wine to do some talking. It did here with a bottle of 2012 Forlorn Hope "Que Saudade" Sierra Foothills ($28 - Pastoral). 100% verdelho, principally a Portuguese grape, but grown in Australia, the Loire (just found that one out), and increasingly in California.

I'm getting kinda sick of describing tasting notes, something I didn't agree with when I read Asimov's screed against "the tyranny of the tasting note" in his book How To Love Wine. I'm starting to fall into his camp. It's just too much and accomplishes little. Works for some to remember how it tasted. Sometimes, it's just fun to say, "This tastes like the cat got into the barrel. It's not urine, it's cat hair. Tastes like cat hair!" But mostly, I'm finding myself using hand gestures to describe the path of the wine with a bite of food, which probably makes me look like a crazy person.

This Forlorn Hope brought wonderful texture, perfect acid zip, nice freshness and lovely presence. With a (hands moving up) voooop, then a (hands moving out) aaaaaaah. With an empanada bite, it choose a broad path, widening out and expanding into a fennel flesh note without the anise, or cinnamon tinge without the cinnamon, if that makes sense. Stuff like that. So pretty, so delicious, and we'll be buying more. Buckets.

With less minerality than we expected in the wine and less tuna presence in the empanada, this meal tasted more like a land-based dinner in some restaurant in a tiny town, like in Rioja or something, where every flavor jumps and you feel like you found a surprise.

Big. Fans. Savory pie and salad with delicious wine. There's little better.      

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