Pairings: Portuguese seafood, rice with linguica, albariño

Crawford Family Wine's 2015 Santa Barbara County Albariño.

Seafood with linguica, and a jalapeño thrown in for good measure, has Santa Barbara County written all over it. But did you know that Portuguese varietal grapes are also grown in the county? Albariño, a Portuguese white, with a perfume nose similar to viognier, but a little more body than your typical pinot grigio, could be a great match for this hearty dish.

Portuguese Seafood and Rice with Linguica

2 c. chicken stock

1 c. Arborio rice

1 tsp. smoked paprika

2 bay leaves

2 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil

1 medium onion, thinly sliced

1 jalapeño, seeded and diced

4 garlic cloves, finely diced

1 lb. linguica, sliced

14.5-oz. can diced tomatoes

1/2 lb. fresh bass or tilapia filets, cut into 1 inch squares

3/4 lb. large raw shrimp, peeled

Sea salt and pepper to taste

Handful flat parsley, chopped -- for garnish

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In a 1-quart pot, bring chicken stock with rice, paprika and bay leaves to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer covered for 20 minutes, then remove from heat.

Meanwhile, in a large skillet, heat olive oil to medium-high, sauté onion and jalapeño until translucent, add garlic and linguica and continue to sauté until garlic and linguica begin to brown.

Add diced tomatoes with juice; stir and return to simmer. Add tilapia. When pieces turn opaque, add shrimp, remove from heat and let it sit for 2 to 3 minutes, or until the shrimp turn opaque.

Remove bay leaves from rice, and add rice to main dish, mixing thoroughly. Garnish with fresh parsley.

Pair this dish with Crawford Family Wine’s 2015 Santa Barbara County Albariño. Crawford Family Wines is thrilled to have this new wine in their line-up. Mark Crawford Horvath first got interested in wine through a Spanish friend and Master Sommelier he worked with in San Francisco. He likes to say he was weaned on Spanish varietals and has always known he would try his hand at one sooner or later.

Last year, when some albariño became available from a new vineyard right down the street from the winery, he knew it was time to jump in. The yield was really small from this first crop so Mark also sourced a ton from River Bench vineyard in Santa Maria to round out the wine.

Fermented entirely in stainless steel, the goal here is all about a light and bright wine with crisp acidity and lots of aromatics. The color here is bright yellow gold and shimmers in the glass. On the nose, crisp citrus and floral aromatics vie with raw almonds and a twinge of grassiness. The citrus continues on the palate along with stone fruits, more of the almond/nutty flavor and vibrant acidity that is albariño’s cornerstone.

You can find Crawford Family Wines Tasting Room at 2477 Alamo Pintado Road in Los Olivos.

Enjoy!

John David Finley is a freelance writer and author of the cookbook, "Sacred Meals from our Family Table," which features Santa Barbara County wines. He can be reached at sacredmeals@comcast.net.

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