Crémant with Fennel
Pull out your trusty mandoline or super-sharp chef’s knife and get to slicing fennel bulbs into the thinnest pieces. Dressed only with green olive oil and fl eur de sel, a whisper of fronds as garnish, you’ve got a starter dish for steamy August nights on the back patio. It’s particularly good with the fresh-apple creaminess of a chardonnay-based Crémant de Bourgogne, like Domaine Perraud’s.
The Tuscans are said to have invented panzanella
to use up leftover bread, but I prefer to think of it as a vehicle to celebrate the juiciest tomatoes of the season. Tossed with cucumbers—preferably from a friend’s garden—shallots or red onion, a liberal glug of grassy olive oil, cubes of salami and a grana or pasta filata
cheese, it’s summer in a bowl. Capers and bell peppers work well, too, or even cherries. The big flavors stand up to sunny, rich sparklers, like the Sonoma Coast chardonnay-based versions from Iron Horse or Roederer Estate from Anderson Valley. Rosé works, too.
Sekt & Potatoes
Seafood from a can is one of summer’s greatest food hacks: Open can, serve with crackers and a pile of parsley. Elevate this to a composed meal with only a modicum of additional effort: Dump contents of can into a bowl with bite-size boiled potatoes, a handful of peppery arugula and a dollop of crème fraîche. Serve with a bottle of full-bodied German Sekt, like the Hansen-Lauer 2013 Brut, and you’re set.
This story was featured in W&S August 2016.
illustrations by Amy Schimler-Safford