Friday, April 20, 2018

Pairing Bourride à la Sétoise with Picpouls From France to California's Central Coast #Winophiles #Sponsored

This is a sponsored post written by me in conjunction with the April #Winophiles event.
Wine samples were provided for this post and this page may contain affiliate links.

On the third Saturday of each month, The French Winophiles convene and share posts about a particular grape or region. Today we are focusing on the Picpoul varietal. And despite my lack of expertise on the grape, I am hosting. You can read my invitation post: here.

I'm always up for learning something new and seeing what delicious pairings this group creates. If you're reading this soon enough, hop on the Twitter chat on Saturday, April 21st at 8am Pacific time. Search for the hashtag #Winophiles to follow along or peruse the tweets later.


Picpoul
Picpoul is a white grape varietal that's been cultivated in the Languedoc region of France for centuries. It is rarely grown outside of France, however I was able to locate a vintner not too far from me, here on California's central coast.

I read an article or two about Picpoul meaning 'lip stinger', but then I read a convincing rebuttal to that claim and my French is very, very rusty. I didn't have time to really research which side was correct. So, I'll shelve that assertion for now. Maybe one of the other French Winophiles can shed some light onto that.

What I will say is that Picpoul is a zingy white that is refreshing and affordable. With most of the wines I found retailing for between $10 and $15, this is the perfect summer sipper.


And I love that Picpoul de Pinet wines are virtually all sold in a special, distinctive bottle, called a "Neptune" bottle. It's green, slender and embossed with a Languedoc cross on it which was first used as the coat of arms of the counts of Forcalquier in Provence, and then by the counts of Toulouse in the traditional territory of Languedoc.

The Other Picpoul Picks


In My Glass
I was fortunate to receive two samples of Picpoul de Pinet: Cave de Pomerols HB Picpoul de Pinet 2016 and Château Petit Roubié Picpoul de Pinet 2016 from our event sponsor.* And I was very excited to round out our tasting with a fairly local-to-me Picpoul: Adelaida Picpoul Blanc 2015 from Paso Robles, California.

Jake and I opened up all three on a Friday night and tasted each with a single dish, my version of Bourride à la Sétoise. The wine that came out on top was the Cave de Pomerols HB Picpoul de Pinet. And it wasn't even a close call. So, I'll talk more about the other two wines with different pairings.


Cave de Pomerols, from the Coteaux du Languedoc appellation, makes a single varietal wine from 100% Picpoul Blanc. Most of the time, due to its high acidity, the grape is almost always blended with meatier grapes to add a layer of freshness and brightness to a wine. Picpoul is usually greenish-yellow in hue with a crisp minerality, distinct acid, and lots of citrus notes. Interestingly enough, this is one of those wines to drink young. You don't need to - or really want to - age it!


As I mentioned, I was very excited to find a fairly local-to-me Picpoul: Adelaida Picpoul Blanc 2015 from Paso Robles, California. However, of the three we poured with the dinner, that one was the least favorite. So, we popped the cork back in and poured it the following day with some Vietnamese sandwiches. More on that soon!


In My Bowl
When I was deciding on a pairing, I started by researching regional dishes from Languedoc. Bourride à la Sétoise caught my eye in that it is traditionally made with monkfish. We love monkfish - you can read about my Roasted Monkfish Over Mole Negro, Monkfish en Papillote, Moqueca, and Lemon-Poached Monkfish. Our fish market always seems to have it. But, on the day that I was set to make this, they didn't have any. Boo. Instead, I swapped in some local black cod.

Less complicated and less expensive than the Bouillabaisse from Marseille, this regional speciality involves cooking white fish with an aioli sauce.

Bourride à la Sétoise

Ingredients
Fish Stew
  • 1 T butter
  • 2 T olive oil
  • 2 to 3 cloves garlic, peeled and pressed
  • 2 to 3 medium leeks, trimmed and thinly sliced
  • 1 pound monkfish, cut into large cubes (monkfish is tradition, but I used black cod)
  • 1 pound littleneck clams, scrubbed
  • 1 t fresh thyme leaves
  • pinch of saffron
  • pinch of crushed red pepper chile flakes
  • 1 C white wine (I used some of the Picpoul)
  • 3/4 C aioli (see below)
  • 1 T freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • freshly ground salt, to taste
  • freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • fresh parsley, chopped for garnish
  • baguette, sliced for serving
Aioli (you'll have extra!)
  • 3 or 4 whole cloves of garlic, peeled and pressed
  • generous pinch of salt
  • 1 egg yolk, at room temperature
  • 1/2 organic lemon, juiced
  • 1 C olive oil
  • freshly ground black pepper


Procedure
Aioli
Put garlic and salt in a food processor fitted with a metal blade, or in a blender. Pulse 2 or 3 times. Add the egg yolk and lemon juice. Pulse until blended. Turn the food processor on low and add the olive oil in a thin stream through the access chute. If it becomes too thick, thin it out with some water and continue streaming in the oil until it's all used.


Spoon the aioli into a small bowl and refrigerate until ready to use.

Fish Stew
Melt butter in olive oil in a large skillet or pot (I used my Dutch oven). Stir in the leeks and garlic. Cook until the leeks are softened, approximately 3 to 4 minutes. Pour in the wine and bring to a boil.


Reduce the heat at a simmer and stir in the fish chunks, thyme, saffron, and chile flakes. Cook for a minute or two. Nestle the clams in the pot and cover. Let steam for 7 or 8 minutes until the clams open. Remove from the heat and pour in the lemon juice. Then add the aioli. Gently stir the pot so that the aioli is incorporated into the cooking liquid and coats the fish and clams.

Season to taste with salt and pepper, as needed. Fold parsley into the pot before ladling into individual serving bowls. Serve hot with slices of baguette.

Find the Sponsor...

Languedoc Wines on the web, on Facebook, on Twitter

*Disclosure: I received sample wines for recipe development, pairing, and generating social media traction. My opinions do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the organizer and sponsors of this event.

9 comments:

  1. It's all about your fish stew, looks delicious. You mentioned the Adelaide Picpoul was your least favorite, but how did the French versions go with the stew? Guessing good. You've motivated me to made this dish ;-D

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  2. Yummy! The bourride seems like a dish you could make all year long, adjusting the ingredients to what's in season. And I like that you tried an American bottling - I need to find one. My fave thing in your post, though, was learning that the Picpoul bottle is called a Neptune. How perfect is that?

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  3. Creamy unctuous aïoli is what I love about bourride... oh and the fish isn’t a bad idea either :-) Very detailed post and lovely photos as always, see you next month, Cam. And thank you for hosting April!

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  4. What a great looking seafood stew. I'm 100% ok if it's less involved than bouillabaise!

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  5. Looks delicious and less involved than bouillabaise?! Definitely going to have to try this. And we LOVE monkfish as well!

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  6. Your stew sounds wonderful and I'm so glad that there was a rebuttal article to the Lip Stinging title. I was beginning to think there was a serious problem with my palate. Perhaps it's just that I don't use the word acidic in relation with citrusy although I do know that citrus is acidic. Anyway....I loved the Cave de Pomerol too.

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  7. I also received the Cave de Pomerols HB Picpoul and loved it!!!! I look forward to drinking more Picpoul this spring/summer season and making your bourride.
    Thank you for hosting!!

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  8. I appreciate that you went beyond the Picpouls we received from France to explore and compare with CA Picpouls as well. The meal, as always, looks incredible. One of these days I am going to show up for dinner.

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  9. Aioli! Seafood stew! You are a wizard - what a great spread. But, nothing less than the best from Cam, as always. I’ve been watching along as you feed teen boys and friends - lucky ducks!

    I also had Cave de Pomerols HB Picpoul de Pinet 2016 and, while bracing, I didn’t find it overwhelmingly ‘sting-y’.

    Fun month - delish as always!

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