Thursday, March 24, 2011

Crab Stuffed Lobster Paired with 2009 Santa Cristina Pinot Grigio

The title of stuffed lobster is a severe understatement.  This pairing featured Chef Sue at her New England root’s finest.  Keeping company with the perfectly prepared crab stuffed lobster were clam fitters, fried clams, long neck clams, and some garlic sautéed green beans to add a bit of color.  Joining us for this shell fish fiesta was good friend Gun Slinger Teji.

Stuffed Lobster-1

I will not be providing recipes for this menu – other than making some crab stuffing (freshly picked crab meat, bread crumbs, butter and minced onion), this menu is just a matter of steaming fresh seafood and a small bit of time in the oven for the stuffed lobster.

The Food

Seafood, shell fish or not, is always welcome on my plate.  I love the delicate flavors and textures.  But how do you describe the flavor of lobster?  The word that comes to mind is DELICIOUS.  The same goes for the clams and crabs that were keeping the lobster company.  Unfortunately, when we are asking the questions of “why” with respect to a wine pairing, “delicious” is not of much help.  So here is my stab at a description of the dominant flavors; when I think of lobster, I think of early summer corn combined with an easy earthiness and a touch of the sea.  This description is not great, but it helps explain why we love to combine butter with lobster and the other shell fish supporting the lobster.

Crabs in the Pot

Lobsters in the Pot

I have to admit that this menu was terribly indulgent.  Crab stuffed lobster, clam fritters, fried clams, and long neck clams (steamers) along with some clarified butter for dipping, and some garlic sautéed green beans just for the fun of it.  Time to hit the road for a few miles!  Not withstanding my need to hit the gym, the flavor palate across these dishes was a true pleasure; consistent and related which made the wine pairing a piece of cake.

Steaming Lobster

Stuffing a Lobster

The Wine

The 2009 Santa Cristina Pinot Grigio is a beautifully fresh wine with abundant acidity, flavors of fresh citrus conjuring orange and grapefruit (accentuated by the pleasant citrus aromas) and a nicely balanced sweetness.  Overall, the Santa Cristina is lively, bright, refreshing, easy to drink, and a wonderful pairing for dishes not featuring acidic components (like a tomato based sauce) and more delicate dishes that require the wine to blend with, rather than overpower the subtle flavors.  At $13, this wine is a very good value with a wonderfully food friendly composition.

2009 Santa Cristina Pinot Grigio

The Pairing

Our judges, Chef Sue and Gun Slinger Teji, were very pleased with the pairing.  Our mouths were watering in anticipation of this New England shell fish extravaganza which left our expectations high.  The food was brilliant, and the wine a perfect match.  The success of the pairing can be attributed to the pleasant citrus flavors and the acidity of the Santa Cristina - a natural for seafood.  Think of squeezing a fresh lemon on your seafood to balance the acidity – in this case it came in a nice bottle, and was more pleasant than the lemon.

Stuffed Lobster

Final Words

Unlike some of the pairings I have written about, this pairing featured a number of items.  Fortunately, all the flavors fell within a fairly narrow band and did not complicate the way food and wine worked together to achieve a heavenly blend.

2009 Santa Cristina Pinot Grigio-1

I believe I have one other pairing on deck that features photography using only available light.  In the near future you should see some improvement in the quality of photography with the use of my new homemade lighting rig.  If you are interested in my lighting solution, check my photography blog “Craig Corl Photography” later this week.  I will be explaining fully my lighting solution and what my experimentation has revealed.

In vino veritas, buen provecho.


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