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Shelling Out

Pairing fresh East Coast lobster with Chardonnay


Chef Michael Smith’s whirlwind work life of producing television shows for Food Network Canada, cookbook signings and the occasional guest stint keeps him flying back and forth across the country. But when he’s back with his family, he takes great pride in being a home cook. And in the coastal community of Bay Fortune, Prince Edward Island that means knowing how to make the perfect summertime meal.

Click here for his Grilled Tuna Steak Recipe

“We’ve got 24 boats that fish out of this harbour,” says the author of Chef Michael Smith’s Kitchen, to be released in September. “It’s a tradition on the first day of the season; you go down to the wharf and buy a big feed of lobster straight from the fisherman.”

His advice for cooking the perfect lobster? A big bucket of seawater. “That’s the key,” he says. “It’s just a perfect medium for cooking lobster. It grows in seawater, so if you cook it in seawater it’s even better.”

Smith says on the island, simple is best. “We tend to think of lobster as a regular food, it’s not always for a special occasion,” he says. “We just boil it up and eat it cold. Potato salad, corn with butter, biscuits and lobster. That’s a meal right there.”

Why It Works
When it comes to lobster and the necessary accoutrement of butter, there’s an inherit richness that pairs nicely with Chardonnay, oaked or otherwise. “I think it works because it’s cold, flavourful and balanced and that’s what makes it a good pairing.”

Outside the Box
“I don’t get all fussy with what goes with what,” says Smith. “If you like it, if that beer taste goods to you, if that wine tastes good to you, nobody in the world can tell you you’re doing it wrong.” He recommends a personal favourite from Charlottetown, Gahan House Brewery’s handcrafted ales for those who prefer to quench their thirst with beer. “Crisp, cool summer whites are also excellent. In particular, I like a Viognier.”

 

Well Shelled

Flat Rock Cellars 2009 Rusty Shed Chardonnay

Twenty Mile Bench, Niagara Peninsula $24.95 (001552)
Ross Wise has crafted a stellar Niagara Chardonnay with an enjoyably flavourful and fresh character that’s a joy to behold. flatrockcellars.com

Groth Cellars 2008 Chardonnay

Napa Valley, California $37.95 (225672)
This rich, ripe and generous Chardonnay is an ideal companion for lobster. Its polished profile is luxuriant, layered and long.

Quails’ Gate Es tate Winery 2009 Stewart Family Chardonnay

Okanagan Valley $29.99 (639641)
The top tier white from Quails’ Gate offers impressive richness and complexity. Its refined personality would be a winning match for most lobster dishes. quailsgate.bc.ca


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