food and wine
September arguably has to be up there with the favourite month for most people. All the kids have gone back to school, the weather is still warm and generous and us adults get a little more free time to ourselves! On-top of all these great things, white wines are still very much the flavour of the day, as is juicy fresh fish. So this month we've decided to recommend a unbelievably simple and hearty fish dish, but with a maybe not so simple white wine...
Turbot is fish royalty. Its firm, succulent, almost steak-like flesh is such that it will stand up to most cooking techniques – frying, grilling, baking, steaming, poaching & even barbequing. This simple and fun dish is a show piece. Just simply put it on a big plate, and whack it in the middle of the table and tell everyone to dig in (don't forget the salad and new potatoes)! Turbot can vary in size, so when buying make sure to get some advice on how many people you can serve it for, it could be anything between 2 to 4 people!
The cooking is just as simple as the dish really. All you need to do is pre-heat your oven to 220 degrees, sprinkle some Rapeseed oil, salt & pepper in the base of the tray that you'll be baking the Turbot in. Place the Turbot with the skin facing up, rub some butter over the skin, throw in two tablespoons of capers and squeeze half a lemon on-top; and based on a 2kg Turbot, leave to bake for 30 to 35 minutes. 5 minutes before you bring it out the oven to serve, heat up a small amount of Rapeseed oil in a pot, and just flash fry a handful of Samphire with 2 or 3 tablespoons of brown shrimp. Pull the Turbot out of the oven and place onto a sizeable plate, sprinkle the capers, samphire and brown shrimp over the top and serve. It's really as easy as that!
If titles are anything to go by, the Vuurberg sounds pretty un-interesting. But just scratch the surface and you'll quickly realise this is one of South Africa's up & coming wines, along with its producer. Next door to Zorgvliet on the Helshoogte Pass that winds round the eastern face of the Simonsberg Mountain between Stellenbosch and Franschoek, is a tiny estate by the name of Vuurberg, pronounced FEER-berg. Just two wines, a red and a white, are made by the uber-talented Donovan Rall, who worked with Miles Mossop at Tokara and Eben Sadie before striking out on his own. These are gloriously compelling wines from a brilliant young winemaker exploring the Cape's old vines. Only very small quantities are produced but already the wines are getting rave reviews across the Cape and sit on the more interesting, less-predictable wine lists of the best contemporary Cape eateries. Donovan is very much amongst the current crop of young Cape winemakers being closely followed by the UK press.
A blend of Chenin Blanc 42%, Semillon 18%, Roussanne 10%, Viognier 10%, Grenache Blanc 8% and Verdelho 2% from vineyards on the estate and from the Swartland, all wrapped up in 11 months in Burgundian Oak barrels. An epic, delightful blend from the ever inventive Donovan Rall, Vuurberg White is actually quite dumb initially but rewards a night open in the fridge to really show it off. Linear, clean, bright and posh, it is positively packed with rich, fresh stone fruit, white spice, green pepper/capsicum and minerality and keeps on giving with a core of stoney acidity and a relentless finish. As we say, be patient for this little baby is tense and young and just needs time to open up... but you will be well and truly rewarded by its serious notes and structure. It just keeps getting better and better.