Pairing Simi Winery’s newly released 2014 Sauvignon Blanc with marinated artichoke hearts from Kevin West is the perfect way to kick start summer food and wine pairing. Serve this dish alongside an array of charcuterie or as a side to grilled white fish or shellfish, smothered in lemon juice, and you’ve got a refreshing pairing that’s great to enjoy on the patio during a warm summer evening.
Although this recipe takes a bit of forethought and preparation, it’s definitely worth it to whip up these artichokes and let them marinate for a month before pairing them with the Simi Sauvignon Blanc. A combination of lemon juice and a hearty portion of Simi Sauvignon Blanc make the base for the artichoke marinade, coupled with an array of spices to help make the flavors of the wine pop on the palate.
The 2014 Sauvignon Blanc’s aromas of lime zest, pink grapefruit and fresh lemon grass tell you right away that the wine is going to be an excellent match for the lemon and wine marinated artichokes. Flavors of zesty lime, grapefruit and stone fruit lend themselves well to the bright acidity and citrus component of the artichoke marinade.
The touch of minerality on the palate of the wine complements the fresh thyme, parsley and rosemary quite well – bringing forward more complexity and structure to balance out the fruit. Of course, the textures are very playful; the bright acidity of the marinade matches the acidity of the wine, but still maintains balance with a full body paralleling the rich olive oil in the artichokes.
For more recipes and ideas for pairings from Simi Winery, visit their website at www.simiwinery.com. To visit their tasting room, head to 16275 Healdsburg Avenue in Healdsburg, open daily from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. For further information, call 1-800-746-4880.
Kevin West’s Artichoke Hearts Marinated in SIMI Sonoma County Sauvignon Blanc (Serves 6 to 8)
• 2 lemons, halved
• 8 cups water
• 3 cups SIMI Sonoma County Sauvignon Blanc
• 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice (about half a lemon)
• ½ teaspoon fine sea salt (or nearly twice as much flakier kosher salt)
• 1 teaspoon dried oregano
• 1/8 teaspoon dried thyme leaves
• 1 bay leaf, torn in half
• freshly ground black pepper
• 8 globe artichokes (or twice as many baby artichokes)
• 2 small dried red peppers or several pinches of red pepper flakes
• 2 inch-long strips of lemon zest
• 2 whole garlic cloves, lightly crushed
• 4 fresh thyme springs
• 2 fresh parsley sprigs
• 2 small fresh rosemary springs
• 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- Squeeze three lemon halves into a medium mixing bowl, and add the water. (Reserve the remaining lemon half for juice.)
- Trim the artichokes by snapping off the tough outer leaves and scraping out the fuzzy choke with the edge of a spoon. With a sharp knife, trim the stem and pare all the tough green peel. Immediately plunge the artichoke hearts in the acidulated water to prevent browning. (To trim baby artichokes, remove the tough outer leaves only and snip the prickly tip off the pale inner leaves.)
- Place the trimmed hearts in a lidded pot. Add the wine, juice from the remaining half-lemon, salt, oregano, dried thyme, and bay leaf. Season generously with black pepper – about six twists of a pepper mill. Bring to a boil, and cover tightly. Adjust the heat to maintain a lively simmer for 10 minutes, or until the artichokes are tender but not mushy. (Smaller artichokes will cook faster). Remove from the stove. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the artichoke hearts to a platter.
- When cool enough to handle, cut into quarters. (Cut baby artichokes in half.)
*Originally published in Wine Country This Week magazine.