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Barn owl and salmon

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Looking for a wine to pour with Indian-style salmon brochettes (recipe follows), I popped the cork on this. It worked.

Coteaux du Loir 2010, L’Effraie, Domaine Bellivière ($27.45, 11495467)
Effraie is French for barn owl. 100% biodynamically farmed Chenin Blanc from vines under 50 years old. Fermented with native yeasts and aged 12 months in second-, third- and fourth-use barrels. Depending on the year, the wine can range from dry to demi-sec. 12.5% ABV according to the label (13.5% according to, though that may refer to an earlier vintage).
Complex, if subtle, and constantly evolving nose: yellow apple, melon rind, summer savoury, chalk, preserved lemon and honeycomb. Off-dry (sec-tendre according to the winemaker), the sugar softening the acidity and augmenting the somewhat viscous texture. Mild white and yellow fruit dissolves dryly into minerals, ash and a light citric tang. A faint aftertaste – more a fresh, mint-like sensation – haunts the mouth for minutes after a sip. A natural with white fish or scallops in lemon cream (the estate suggests tartare preparations), this also goes well with not-too-spicy Asian fare like the dish you’ll find after the jump.

Salmon with Yogurt and Indian Spices

In a skillet over medium-high heat, toast 2.5 ml (1/2 teaspoon) cumin seeds, 2.5 ml (1/2 teaspoon) coriander seeds, 2.5 ml (1/2 teaspoon) yellow mustard seeds, 2 ml (scant 1/2 teaspoon) anise or ajwain seeds, 6 cardamon pods, 1 clove and 10 black peppercorns. Cool slightly, then transfer to a mortar or grinder and grind to a coarse powder.

In a non-reactive bowl, combine the spices, 250 ml (1 cup) thick yogurt (full fat Greek-style works best), 1–2 seeded and minced chiles and 3–4 quarter-size pieces of fresh ginger, peeled and minced or pressed through a garlic press. Add 450 g (1 lb) skinless salmon fillet cut into 3 cm (1 1/4-inch) chunks (you should have around 16 chunks). Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.

Core 2 green bell peppers and cut them into 3 cm (1 1/4-inch) squares. Peel 2 medium red onions and cut them into 3 cm (1 1/4-inch) squares. When ready to cook the fish, take a skewer and on it thread a piece of pepper, a piece of onion and a piece of fish (the fish should be lightly coated with yogurt). Repeat so that the skewer has 4 or 5 pieces of salmon on it. Repeat for the other skewers.

Grill over a medium fire or broil close to a hot broiler about 2–3 minutes a side, about 10 minutes in all. Season with salt and serve. Saag aloo (spinach and potatoes) makes a fine accompaniment.

Three to four servings

Written by carswell

July 9, 2012 at 18:34

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