Chardonnay Symposium

New recipes to pair with America's favorite varietal.


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Now in its fourth year, The Chardonnay Symposium has become California’s leading public event for Chardonnay. Wine Enthusiast’s California Editor, Steve Heimoff (above), moderated a panel at the June 30 session on terroir and winemaker technique in the crafting of Chardonnay. Panelists included Bob Cabral (Williams Selyem), Dieter Conje (Presqu’ile), Bill Wathen (Foxen), Graham Weerts (Stonestreet), Heidi von der Mehden (Arrowood), James Hall (Patz & Hall), Eric Johnson (Talley Vineyards) and Joshua Klapper, standing in for Jenne Lee Bonaccorsi (Bonaccorsi).

Here are three top recipes from the event:

Vichyssoise with Bacon and Chive Oil

Recipe courtesy Budi Kazali, executive chef of The Ballard Inn & Restaurant, Ballard, California

This extraordinarily rich, seductive soup raises traditional vichyssoise to a whole new level. The creaminess of the buttermilk and heavy cream is a perfect textural match for an oaky Chardonnay.

3 tablespoons butter
1 pound small leeks, cleaned and chopped
1 small onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more to taste
3 russet or Yukon gold potatoes, peeled and halved
4 cups chicken stock
1 cup cream
1 cup buttermilk
½ teaspoon white pepper
Chive oil (recipe below)
4 strips bacon, cooked and chopped 

In a heavy saucepan set over medium-high heat, melt the butter. Add the leeks, onion and garlic. Season with salt, and allow to sweat for 5 minutes. Lower the heat to medium-low and cook the mixture for about 20 minutes. Add the potatoes and stock, and bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce heat to low and cook until the potatoes are tender, or about 45 minutes. Pour the soup into a blender and purée. Strain the soup through a colander, then return it to the pot. Add the cream and buttermilk. Season with salt and white pepper, to taste. Serve in small bowls, drizzle with chive oil and garnish with bacon. Serves 4.

Chive oil
2 bunches chives, blanched, chilled and chopped
1 cup olive oil
Salt and pepper, to taste

Combine the ingredients in a blender and purée until smooth.

Ceviche Tostadas

Recipe courtesy Anthony Endy, executive chef of Rooney’s Irish Pub, Orcutt, California

This exquisite finger food, made exotic with tropical fruits, can be prepared with any white, firm-fleshed ocean fish, such as cod. For this recipe, Endy uses halibut. For the tostadas, get the best tortillas you can find.

1 pound high-quality, fresh halibut, diced into ¼-inch cubes
½ cup freshly squeezed lime juice
¼ cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 grapefruit, segmented and diced, pith removed
¼ cup finely diced red onion
¼ cup finely diced fresh pineapple
½ cup finely diced fresh mango
2 tablespoons picked cilantro leaves
1 tablespoon high-quality extra-virgin olive oil
½ jalapeño pepper, finely diced, to taste
½ teaspoon salt, plus more to taste
Crushed black pepper, to taste
4 corn tortillas, baked or fried until crispy

Put the fish in a glass dish with the lime and lemon juice, grapefruit, red onion and pineapple. Cover and refrigerate for 4 hours, stirring occasionally.

Add the mango, cilantro, oil, jalapeño and salt. Taste and adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper, if needed.

With a slotted spoon, drain the juices and serve the ceviche cold on top of the prepared tortillas. Serves 4

Flatbread Double Goat Pizza

Recipe courtesy Clark Staub, chef/owner of Full of Life Flatbread Pizza, Los Alamos, California

There’s no food at a wine tasting like pizza, especially when it’s flatbread. This Los Alamos restaurant is a winemaker favorite in Santa Barbara County. The recipe calls for goat meat, but you can substitute lamb.

For the goat chorizo
2 ounces tomatillo sauce (widely available in Mexican markets and upscale grocery stores)                                                                                                                                                                                                  2 pasilla peppers, fire roasted and peeled, cut into strips
2 tablespoons thinly sliced red onion
3 ounces ground goat meat
1 clove garlic, finely diced
1 tablespoon smoked paprika
½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
½ teaspoon black pepper, coarsely ground
½ teaspoon sea salt
1 tablespoon Tequila
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
3 ounces goat cheese, crumbled
Fresh cilantro sprigs, to taste

For the pizza dough
1¼-ounce packed (2¼ teaspoons) active dry yeast
1½ teaspoons sugar
1 teaspoon salt
2¼ cups all-purpose flour, plus more to sprinkle
2 tablespoons olive oil
Shortening or butter, for greasing
Cornmeal, for sprinkling

To prepare the goat chorizo
In a bowl, loosely mix the tomatillo sauce, pasilla peppers, red onion, goat meat, garlic, paprika, cayenne pepper, black pepper, sea salt, Tequila, red wine vinegar, goat cheese, and cilantro. Set aside.

To prepare the pizza dough
In a small bowl, sprinkle the yeast over 1 cup warm water (approximately 105ºF). Stir in the sugar. Let stand for about 10 minutes, or until it begins to bubble.

Combine the salt with 2¼ cups flour in a large bowl; pour in the oil and yeast mixture and stir until a stiff dough is formed. Turn dough out onto a floured surface; knead for about 5 minutes, or until the dough is smooth and elastic. Add extra flour as needed to keep from sticking to hands and board.

Place the dough in a large bowl greased with shortening or butter; turn over to coat the dough well. Cover with a towel and let rise in a warm place for about 30 minutes. Dough should double in bulk.

To assemble the pizza
Preheat an oven to 500ºF, preferably with a pizza stone in it. If you don’t have a pizza stone, you can use a baking sheet, but try to preheat it in the oven. The oven rack should be in the center setting.

Roll the pizza dough into a ball and place it on a lightly floured surface. Using the ball of your hand, press an indentation in the center and slowly but steadily work the ball outward. Try to keep a consistent thinness on the bottom of the dough while working your way outward. Try not to press down on the edge of the dough, but keep it working outward until the dough is about 9 inches in diameter. Use just enough flour to keep the dough from sticking, but not so much that it is caked with flour. You can pick up the dough if you wish, but try to keep your hands together as if they were forming a spatula.

Assemble the pizza on a wooden pizza peel with a little cornmeal down between the peel and the crust. This will help the pizza slide off onto the baking surface.

When the pizza is assembled, jostle the pizza peel back and forth slightly (not up and down) to get the pizza sliding slightly. This will determine whether the pizza is going to stick to the peel.

Apply the goat cheese chorizo to the pizza minimally and evenly. Be sparse enough so that you can see the individual ingredients.

If you are using a pizza stone, slide the pizza onto the hot stone and close the oven immediately. Check the pizza after 3 minutes and then again frequently until the crust just sets and starts to color with some blisters. A hotter oven is preferable; bake the dough fast and the toppings and thin crust will quickly set, yet the inside of the crust will remain chewy. Longer baking tends to dry out the finished product.

If baking on a sheetpan, you can use the same technique as above or you can reach in with an oven mitt and take the baking sheet out, load the pizza on, and then place the baking sheet back in the oven. Use caution—the pan will be hot. A pizza baked this way will bake slightly faster on the bottom than if using a pizza stone, so watch it closely.

Remove the finished pizza from the oven and slice into 4 pieces. Makes 1 pizza

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