Sat 20 Mar 2010
As I mentioned recently, LL works on Tuesday nights during the Spring semester, and I try to have dinner ready for her when she arrives at our door about 9 p.m. Last Tuesday, I chopped or sliced a beet, a parsnip, a red onion, a sweet potato, a carrot and a hunk of knobbly celery root, doused them with olive oil, salt and pepper and roasted them at 425 degrees for about 45 minutes. I got the idea from the March Food & Wine magazine; the intention in the recipe is to make a salad. Instead, I cooked some wholewheat fuselli, tossed it with the roasted vegetables, shaved feta cheese and a dollop of a thyme-mustard vinaigrette I had on hand, and, Voila! a really delicious and healthy pasta dish. I didn’t take a picture because I thought the thing was going to be unphotogenic, but actually the roasted vegetables looked like little glowing jewels nestled amongst the corkscrew-shaped pasta.
I opened a bottle of the Craggy Range Fletcher Family Vineyard Riesling 2009, from New Zealand’s Marlborough region, and was glad that I did. Made completely in stainless steel, this riesling is dry, crisp and juicy, a bundle of lime, roasted lemon and spiced peach twined with the requisite pungency of petrol/rubber eraser. A reticent touch of pear and lanolin (and a hint of jasmine) lend sleekness and suavity, while a seductive texture neatly balances keen acidity with moderate lushness. An intense tide of limestone rises from the finish, moving forward as the moments pass and preparing the palate for a final squinge of bracing bitterness, like the tang of grapefruit skin. A very attractive and tasty riesling, yet with a strain of seriousness. Excellent. About $22.
The wine served as a refreshing complement to the sweetness and earthiness of the roasted root vegetable pasta.
The next night, following the trail of The New York Times food section from that morning, LL prepared fillets of cod — the recipe called for halibut, but the stores I tried had none — topped with rosemary, black olives and thin slices of lemon and roasted in the oven. For all its simplicity, this was a terrific dish, deeply tinged with the Mediterranean spirit of freshness and savory, herbal qualities. Those thin slices of lemon were browned and crisped by the oven and brought a touch of citric nerviness to the dish, all of whose elements worked together in fine style. We’ll cook this one often.
The Craggy Range Fletcher Family Riesling ’09, closed with a screw-cap, was still in the refrigerator, so I brought it out and tried it with the cod. This was an even better match than with the roasted root vegetable pasta. Something about the combination of the dusty herbal quality of the rosemary married with the lemon and the earthiness of the black olives brought out both the juiciness and the mineral structure of the wine. It also acted as a foil to the slight bitterness of the sauteed broccoli rabe on the plate.
Imported by Kobrand Corp., Purchase, N.Y. A review sample.