Sunday, November 2, 2008

Two Wines on Day Two and Fresh Crab

Indian Summer is in full force here in Ohio, and it's nice to know something other than the election is in force. Temperatures were in the low 70 degree range today and there were only a few scattered clouds.

The trip to the market was a perfect example of a dilemma. The seafood case was full of fresh Alaskan King Crab and my friend the fishmonger was busy extolling not only its taste but its price drop from last year. King Crab season in Alaska runs from the last of October to the middle of November each year and the crab that gets served outside of that time frame is always frozen during that three to four week period. The crab in the case was not frozen. It was flash cooked and air shipped to Ohio. The fishmonger pulled a small sample out and handed it to me. Sweet, clean, no bad aroma, great texture and tremendous taste. It definitely is superior to frozen king crab.

The price? Last year because of strong economies in Japan and China the going rate was $30 a pound. With those countries buying less the going rate this year is only $25 a pound, not a bargain by any stretch of the imagination. After being offered the second taste I decided that a rough week at work deserved a treat at the end (perfect rationalization). I bought a three leg chunk for $35 and the fishmonger threw in a fourth leg after weighing my selection. The small leg is shown above with a wine cork for size reference.

I reheated the small leg for an appetizer this afternoon and opened a 2006 La Brisas, a white Spanish Rueda wine. It was clean and crisp and perfect with the crab. The other three legs will be dinner tomorrow night.

Since the weather was nice the grill was started and I roasted a whole chicken. In a spice grinder I put in a teaspoon of red Hawaiian salt, some white peppercorns, some fresh sage leaves, a small shallot and some rosemary. I buzzed it down to a powder and rubbed it inside the chicken and over the exterior skin.There was some polenta rounds left from last week that were frozen so those were thawed and thrown on the grill during the last ten minutes of cooking. That's the yellow rounds in the above picture. The chicken skin was crisp and lightly smoky and the interior picked up the scent of the sage and rosemary. Interesting and delicious.

We revisited the Chianti and Cotes du Rhone from last night. The Felsina Chianti's edges mellowed somewhat overnight, as did its tannin. The acid remained and so did the tremendous cherry fruit and earth. It tasted better than it did on Saturday.

The Vidal-Fleury Cote du Rhone did not seem to improve with the air exposure. It was still medium bodied with good fruit but the finish seemed a little shorter and not as full. It was still highly drinkable and nice with the chicken, but the Chianti outshone it on day two.

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