November 14th, 2008
SHERRY AND PORT SEASON A touch of sherry or port on a chilly night can restore the body, if not the soul. Whether sipping a dry amontillado as an aperitif, enjoying a rich Oloroso with cheese, or tipping back a glass of port with a good Valor chocolate, these wines bring a warm and cozy feel to dark nights. They are also excellent for cooking, adding an exceptional accent to mushroom or pork recipes. Here are my top choices this season:
Valdespino Inocente Fino $19.99 (375 ml) Aged for 7 years under flor, bone dry Inocente has delicate floral aromas and clean, nutty flavors. Wonderful with steamed clams!
Alvear Carlos VII Amontillado $19.99 (500 ml) A dry amontillado from Montilla, made from 100% Pedro Ximenez. Dried fig and hazelnut flavors with a silky finish. Fantastic in seafood bisque.
Lustau Los Arcos Dry Amontillado $8.99 (375 ml) $15.99 (750 ml) One of my favorite value amontillados. Butterscotch aromas with flavors of toffee, spice and walnuts, this is super in mushroom recipes and also delicious just for sipping.
Hidalgo Faraon Oloroso $18.99 (500 ml) A rich, dry Oloroso. “Aromatic with aromas of hazelnuts, walnuts and raisins and a broad, dry flavor profile.” 91 points Jay Miller
Lustau East India Solera $12.99 (375 ml) $25.99 (750 ml) An elegant blend of dry Oloroso and Pedro Ximenez. Weighty and sweet with flavors of vanilla, raisins, walnuts, coffee, and chocolate. Excellent with cheese or pecan pie. 94 points Robert Parker
Quinta do Infantado Ruby Port $10.99 (375 ml) $15.99 (750 ml) Roasted redcurrant, mocha and a hint of raisin on the mellow nose. Sweet and silky. A great introduction to ruby port!
2003 Delaforce Vintage Port $26.99 (375 ml) $43.00 (750 ml) Special price! Affordable enough to drink one now and put another in the cellar. “A fabulous nose of cassis and berries with hints of licorice. Full-bodied and lightly sweet, with super sexy tannins and a long, long, finish. Very classy.” 95 points Wine Spectator
Graham’s 10 year Tawny $32.00 “Complex orange peel, cedar and plum aromas and flavors are the hallmarks of this tawny. It has medium body and sweetness with a crisp, clean finish. Absolutely delicious to drink. Pure honey.” 91 points Wine Spectator
Porto Rocha Glorious 50th Tawny Port $104.00 (375 ml) $181.00 (750 ml) A rare blend of 1937, 1957 colheitas with 10 and 30 year old tawnies. Orange zest and walnuts, burnt sugar, mocha, caramel and honey with a hazelnut and marmalade finish. Savor it after dinner.
Veigadarte goat cheese: Think Humboldt Fog on steroids! This gooey, tangy, soft-ripened goat cheese is produced in a small village in the province of Leon. Made from a blend of three different goat milks, it’s covered with oak ash and a thick bloomy white rind. With a lively zestiness and citrus twang, it will impress your friends at parties.
Green Cerignola Olives They’re big, bold, beautiful, and green. Cerignola are the largest olives in the world. These fleshy green wonders have a fruity, mild, clean taste, but their most impressive feature is their size and resulting meatiness. Biting into a Cerignola is almost like biting into a savory plum. Deep jade green in color, plop one in your martini!
BACK IN STOCK: Mustapha’s Moroccan Harissa after a summer-long absence
Thinking about what to serve on Thanksgiving? Here’s our sherry basted turkey recipe which is what we have cooked for the last several years:
TURKEY WITH CATALAN STUFFING (from The Spanish Table Cookbook)
2 Tablespoons Course sea salt
½ Teaspoon Saffron threads
8 cloves Garlic, minced
½ cup Olive oil
1 Large orange, quartered
1 Lemon, quartered
½ cup Amontillado sherry
2 cups Chopped onions
1 cup Spanish pine nuts
1 cup Raisins, re-hydrated
1 bunch Spinach, chopped
4 cups Stale bread, cubed
Pre heat the oven to 450 degrees.
Put the salt and saffron in a mortar and use pestle to grind them together. Add garlic, mash to a paste and slowly add olive oil. Using a pasty brush, paint the turkey with this mixture. Quarter the orange and lemon and slip them into the bird’s cavity. Put the turkey in a very large cazuela and pour the sherry over it. Roast in a hot oven (450 degrees), basting every twenty to thirty minutes with the juices which collect in the bottom of the cazuela.
When done, remove the turkey from the pan and set it aside to rest. While the turkey is resting, pour off the drippings and separate the fat from the juices. Reserve some fat if you intend to make gravy. De-glaze the pan with ½ cup water, and then add it to the de-fatted juices.
Put the raisins in a bowl and cover with some of the turkey juice to re-hydrate them. Cook the onions in olive oil until translucent, and then toss with the other stuffing ingredients in a large mixing bowl. Add enough of the juices from the roasting pan to dampen the stuffing. Any extra juice can be used if you make gravy. Put the stuffing in a cazuela and bake at 450 degrees, until heated through and surface is crisp, about 25 minutes. After the turkey has rested, carve and serve with stuffing.