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Seafood and White Wine for the Holidays

Two tasty shellfish recipes, plus 15 recommended white wines

Laurie Woolever
Posted: December 18, 2009

Last week, we shared tips for making the most of your holiday roast beef, along with red wine recommendations. Now, as promised, it’s time for some excellent seafood recipes, to be used as part of a traditional Feast of Seven Fishes meal, or on their own, as well as a list of suggested white wines to pour alongside.

Linguine With Rock Shrimp, Anchovies and Aglio e Olio

• 6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
• 1/4 cup peeled, thinly sliced garlic
• 1 pint fish stock or bottled clam juice
• Sea or kosher salt
• Freshly ground black pepper
• 1 pound rock shrimp, peeled, or regular medium-size fresh shrimp, peeled and halved crosswise
• 4 to 6 anchovies, minced
• 1 pound linguine, cooked al dente according to package directions
• 1/4 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley

1. In a large, heavy-bottomed saucepan, heat 3 tablespoons olive oil over medium heat. Add the garlic, and cook, stirring occasionally, until lightly browned, about 5 minutes. Add the fish stock, increase the heat to high, and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium, and simmer for 10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

2. In a large sauté pan or Dutch oven, heat the remaining 3 tablespoons olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the shrimp and anchovies, and cook until the shrimp just turns pink, about 3 minutes. Add the linguine, parsley and fish stock, and bring to a brisk simmer while tossing. Adjust the seasoning if necessary, and toss again. Serve immediately. Serves 6 to 8 as part of a multicourse meal, or 4 as a main course. Recipe by Wine Spectator contributing editor Sam Gugino.

Crab Cakes With Beurre Blanc

• 1 small yellow or white onion, finely chopped
• 1 medium sweet-pepper (red preferred), finely chopped
• 8 ounces crab meat
• 2 tablespoons butter
• 3/4 cup bread crumbs
• 2 eggs
• 1 teaspoon hot Dijon mustard or California-style sweet-hot mustard
• 1/4 cup chopped parsley
• 1 tablespoon butter mixed with 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
• Beurre blanc (recipe follows)
• Lemon wedges (optional)

1. Sauté the onion and pepper in the 2 tablespoons butter. When they are soft, combine them in a bowl with the crabmeat, the bread crumbs and the eggs beaten with the mustard. Toss the mixture together with the parsley.

2. Form into six patties and arrange them on a piece of wax paper. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.

3. Just before serving, pan-fry the patties in the mixture of butter and oil until they are brown on both sides, about 3 minutes per side. They will be very fragile. Don't worry if they fall apart; just form them back into patties on the plate. Serve with beurre blanc and thin lemon wedges (if desired). Serves 6 as part of a multicourse meal, or 4 as a main course.

Beurre Blanc:
• 1/4 cup dry white wine
• 1 shallot, finely chopped
• Juice of 1/2 lemon
• 1 stick cold butter, cut into 8 to 10 pieces
• Salt and white pepper to taste

1. Boil the wine and shallot in a wide saucepan until the wine almost evaporates, moving the pan to keep the shallots from burning. Off the heat, add the lemon juice. It will sizzle merrily. As it settles down, start adding the butter, two or three slices at a time, swirling in the pan to melt it evenly. Add the next few slices of butter just before the first ones melt.

2. Return the pan to the heat for a few seconds at a time as needed to keep the pan warm. All you are doing is melting the butter and incorporating it into the reduced liquid. It should never come close to simmering. Season to taste with salt and white pepper and spoon it over and around the crab cakes.

Note: To make the beurre blanc ahead, store it in a thermos to keep it warm, up to 2 hours. Don't keep it in a double boiler. Recipe by Wine Spectator editor at large Harvey Steiman.


HEATH WINES Riesling Clare Valley Southern Sisters Reserve 2008 Score: 91 | $21
Zingy, refreshing and focused to show off its green berry, pineapple and floral aromas and flavors, remaining lively and expressive through the dry finish, which is long and generous. Better than previously reviewed. Drink now through 2018. 8,000 cases made. —H.S.

KING ESTATE Pinot Gris Oregon Signature Collection 2008 Score: 90 | $17
Bright and lively, brimming with lemon meringue, golden raisin and green tea character. Finishes with zip. Drink now. 71,000 cases made. —H.S.

LOOSEN BROS. Riesling QbA Mosel-Saar-Ruwer Dr. L 2008 Score: 90 | $12
Sleek and tangy, showing apricot, lime and mango flavors matched to a lively structure. There's good harmony and persistence through the finish. Drink now through 2018. 75,000 cases made. —B.S.

ACROBAT Pinot Gris Oregon 2008 Score: 89 | $12
Light and juicy, offering a lively mouthful of pear, honeydew and spice aromas and flavors that linger nicely. Drink now. 12,000 cases made. —H.S.

ERATH Pinot Gris Oregon 2008 Score: 89 | $15
A lithe white, flashing with peach, clove and melon flavors that sing easily on the lilting finish. Drink now. 24,500 cases made. —H.S.

PONZI Pinot Gris Willamette Valley 2008 Score: 89 | $17
Light and silky, with pretty pear and peach aromas and flavors, echoing nicely on the dry finish. Drink now. 7,000 cases made. —H.S.

CHATEAU STE. MICHELLE Pinot Gris Columbia Valley 2008 Score: 88 | $13
Light and silky, with pretty peach, almond blossom and grapefruit flavors that linger easily on the open-textured finish. Drink now. 100,000 cases made. —H.S.

PACIFIC RIM Riesling Columbia Valley Dry 2007 Score: 88 | $11
Light, bright, dry and juicy, with green apple and floral flavors, hinting at lemon as the finish lingers. Drink now through 2011. 50,000 cases made. —H.S.

CHARLES SMITH Riesling Columbia Valley Kung Fu Girl Evergreen Vineyard 2008 Score: 88 | $12
Fresh and open-textured, with pretty pear, melon and floral aromas and flavors that linger on a light, off-dry frame. Drink now. 20,000 cases made. —H.S.

WILLAMETTE VALLEY Pinot Gris Willamette Valley 2008 Score: 88 | $15
Light and fresh, brimming with nectarine and melon fruit, lingering on the open-textured finish. Drink now. 24,000 cases made. —H.S.

CHATEAU STE. MICHELLE Riesling Columbia Valley 2008 Score: 87 | $10
Ripe and effusive, with pretty pear and citrus flavors, finishing off-dry. Drink now. 669,400 cases made. —H.S.

KEN FORRESTER Chenin Blanc Stellenbosch Petit 2008 Score: 87 | $9
Shows delightful floral, heather, candied lime peel and quince notes on a bright, unadorned frame. Drink now. 100,000 cases made. —J.M.

S.A. PRÜM Riesling QbA Mosel Essence 2008 Score: 87 | $13
An open white, showing peach and pear flavors, with a hint of orange. Perks up, with bright acidity that keeps this fresh on the finish. Drink now through 2011. 20,000 cases made. —B.S.

BOTA BOX Pinot Grigio California 2007 Score: 86 | $19/3L
Fragrant and perfumed, with floral notes. This has a silky smooth texture, a light body and tangy citrus flavors, and a soft acidity provides a refreshing edge. Drink now. 122,000 cases made. —M.W.

CAVE SPRING Riesling Niagara Peninsula 2007 Score: 86 | $12
A mix of grapefruit, spice and apple flavors in a dry style. There's a nice lemony acidity on the finish. Drink now. 16,500 cases made. —B.S.

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