Wine and Food Pairing
11:05 am
Thu March 21, 2013

Jax Fish House's Seared New England Sea Scallops with Gruner Veltliner Heiligenstein

Chef Sheila Lucero's Seared New England Sea Scallops with roasted salsify, Hazel Dell mushrooms, sea beans, and Crescenza Mornay sauce.
 
Serves 4
 
8 each U-10 count sea scallops
2 T vegetable oil
1 T butter
salt and pepper
Season scallops with salt and pepper and keep refrigerated until ready to use.
 
Mornay Sauce
3 T butter
3 T flour
2 cups milk
salt
ground white pepper
pinch of nut meg
½ cup Bellwether Farms Crescenza cheese
In a medium saucepan, over medium heat, melt the butter. Stir in the flour and cook for 2 minutes. Whisk in the milk, ½ cup at a time. Season with salt, pepper and nutmeg. Continue to stir for 5 minutes. Take off the heat and whisk in the cheese.
Hold warm until ready to serve.
 
Roasted salsify
1# salsify
2 T extra virgin olive oil
1 T salt
1 t black pepper
Pre heat oven to 400 degrees. Chop the top and the bottom off the salsify. Using a vegetable peeler peel the salsify. Chop salsify into 2 inch pieces and place in a bowl of acidulated water. The salsify will oxidize if not placed in the acidulated water.
Pull salsify out of water and toss with oil and season with salt and pepper. Place on a pan and roast in the oven for about 20 minutes, or until tender and slightly golden.
 
½ # mixed mushrooms
1 T vegetable oil
½ t garlic, minced
1 T shallot, minced
2 oz white wine, dry
1 T butter
½ # sea beans
In a large sauté pan, heat oil over medium high heat. Add mushrooms, garlic and shallot and cook until garlic and shallots begin to become translucent.
Deglaze with the white wine. Cook slightly and add butter. Once butter is incorporated, take off the heat and toss in sea beans
 
Assembly 
Heat a large sauté pan over high heat. Add oil, once oil is hot, gently place scallops one by one into pan. Sear scallops for approximately three minutes. Turn scallops and add butter. Baste scallops until golden in color, about two minutes.
 
On four plates, place 2 ounces or mornay on each plate, followed by the roasted salsify. Then place the mushroom and sea bean mixture on top of the salsify. Next, add two scallops on each plate and serve.
 
 2010 Gruner Veltliner Heiligenstein
 
Austrian wines are mostly dry white wines, often made from the Gruner Veltiner grape, though some sweeter dessert wines are also produced. Four thousand years of winemaking history counted for little after the “antifreeze scandal” of 1985, when it was revealed that some wine brokers had been adulterating their wines with diethylene glycol. It is believed that when insufficient quantities of wine weren’t available to fulfill contracts made between supermarket chains and wine producers, some started to search from methods, including illegal ones, to “correct” the low quality wines made to uphold these contracts. By using diethlyene glycol, it was possible to affect both the impression of sweetness and the body of the wine. German wine chemists have stated that it is unlikely that an individual winemaker of a small winery had sufficient chemical knowledge to devise the scheme, implying that the recipe must have been drawn up by a knowledgeable wine chemist consulting for a large-scale producer. As a consequence of the scandal, a total of 270,000 hectoliters of wine had to be destroyed by the German authorities.
 
Today Austrian wine laws, overhauled as a direct consequence of this scandal, are now some of the most stringent to be found anywhere. And despite the blemish the scandal made on the reputation of the prestigious Austrian wine market, there is still a thirsty home market, eager to consume what is produced in the small sweep of vineyards that run down Austria’s eastern edge. And for those bottles that do make it beyond Austria’s boundaries, there is a well-established export market in Germany, so it is perhaps unsurprising that little finds its way to the UK or USA. But those that do are without a doubt, worth seeking out.
 
Austrian winemaker Johannes Hirsch has been described as fearless. Fearless because he follows no conventions in his quest for quality, makes no compromises, and is prepared to swim against the current. He does not intervene and allows nature to take its course in the vineyard. Fearless because he also allows the evolvement of what has grown in the vineyard to occur unadulterated in the wine cellar. The result is vibrant wine, with either firm and mineral or creamy structure depending on the aspect and soil of its vineyard of origin.
 
Hirsch’s 2010 Gruner Veltliner Heiligenstein “balances what for its vintage is surprisingly moderate 6.5 grams acidity against for Austria surprisingly high 6 grams of residual sugar. Riesling-like lime and grapefruit along with rhubarb inform the nose and a juicy palate, with a near explosion of zest, cress, salt, crushed stone and white pepper. The vibrancy of this gripping performance certainly belies a look a the wine’s analysis, and while it is a bit spare in texture, for now at least, I expect this to remain stimulating and versatile over at least the next half dozen years.” 90 Points Robert Parker.
 
Hirsch claims not to have de-acidified even his least expensive 2010. “If you just waited to harvest and then waited to bottle, nature took care of things,” not only through precipitation of tartrates but “because these wines just have so much sheer extract,” something I certainly thought palpable while tasting this terrific collection. “The motto for this vintage should be ‘Let it all hang out,” Hirsch says with a grin by way of summary.