Napa Wine Pairings
Yukon Gold Potato, Leek and Fromage Blanc Frittata
Dede Sampson prepared this frittata for the Oliveto staff when she applied for a pastry position at the restaurant. This recipe gets its extra-creamy texture from fromage blanc, an extremely soft cow's-milk cheese with a sour cream-like tang. Sampson buys hers from San Francisco's Cowgirl Creamery.
Pairing: 2009 Beringer Knights Valley Alluvium Blanc
Hunter and metal artist Audwin McGee is a big fan of slow-cooked meats: "You just can't mess up a big hunk of pork. I like to use a bone-in Boston butt or shoulder with good fat content, so it doesn't dry up." His pork is smothered in a garlic-rosemary paste, then cooked at a low temperature for several hours until it's supertender.
Pairing: 2007 Beaulieu Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon
Crab Salad with Caesar Vinaigrette
A blender does the work of the mortar and pestle. Store-bought roasted peppers, instead of home-roasted ones, are combined with the crunchy greens.
Pairing: 2009 Hess Collection Chardonnay
Fideos with Shrimp, Ham and Clams
Fideos are thin, often toasted noodles that are used in a paella-like Spanish dish called fideuá. Chris Ainsworth cooks his fideos over the grill with a saffron-scented ham-hock broth and head-on prawns, but the recipe is also good with standard shrimp.
Pairing: 2008 St. Clement Vineyards Merlot
Fresh Vegetable Curry
Vikram Sunderam blanches the carrots, squash and green beans individually before cooking them in the curry sauce.
Pairing: 2009 Duckhorn Vineyards Sauvignon Blanc
Orecchiette with Sausage and Cherry Tomatoes
Using sausage in place of ground meat is a good sauce shortcut, because it's already seasoned. For a salty, creamy finish, Marc Vetri stirs in shredded provolone cheese before serving.
Pairing: 2008 SKN Merlot
Shrimp and Avocado Salad
Traci Des Jardins created this refreshing salad to showcase one of her favorite Latin ingredients, the avocado. She tasted her first avocado during a visit to her Grandma Salazar in Mexico; she would snack on it at taco and fruit stands on the street, where it is typically served with fresh lime juice and chile salt.
Pairing: 2009 Stag's Leap Wine Cellars Sauvignon Blanc
Whole Grilled Chicken with Wilted Arugula
"I don't care if you're sophisticated, with a boatload of money," says Thomas Keller, "roasted chicken makes you feel wonderful." Cooking a whole chicken on the grill can be tricky, but Keller has perfected a method that uses indirect heat; he adds rosemary sprigs to the coals to infuse the smoke and flavor the chicken.
Pairing: 2009 Cuvaison Chardonnay