Monday, June 17, 2013

De Chanceny, Cremant de Loire, Brut, NV

This pale yellow wine is a great value for a Cremant. It has notes of apple, peach, citrus, and pear with a hint of honey. A luscious yeastiness makes this a very satisfying wine. I served this with Cajun Catfish and Cheddar Grits with Homemade Cajun Spice Rub.

Price: $15

Taste: 3.5
Value: 4
Drinkability: 4
Effervescence: 3

Cajun Catfish and Cheddar Grits with Homemade Cajun Spice Rub

I absolutely love shrimp and grits but sometimes like to mix it up by using fish instead of shrimp. (As an added bonus, you don't have to peel and devein a bunch of shrimp!) This is a very flavorful and tasty version of the classic dish. The cajun spice rub adds a great kick. This recipe feeds two people, but if you are trying to feed more, add about a 1/4 lb. catfish per person and double or triple the grits recipe.


Cajun Spice Rub:
2 tsp. kosher salt
1 tsp. paprika
1/2 tsp. black pepper
3/4 tsp. dried thyme 
3/4 tsp. dried oregano
Pinch crushed red pepper
1 tsp. onion powder
1 tsp. garlic powder
1/2 tsp. cayenne
1/2 tsp. ground mustard

Cajun catfish: 
1/2 lb. catfish
6 oz. andouille sausage, cut into half circles
2 cloves garlic, minced
Cajun seasoning 
8 oz. crimini mushrooms, sliced
2 green onions, sliced 
Olive oil

1 cup stone ground grits 
2 cups milk
2 cups chicken stock
2 tbsp. butter
4 oz. sharp white cheddar, grated 
1 tsp. kosher salt 
1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper


Combine all ingredients for the cajun spice rub in a small bowl. Grind all ingredients together in a mortar and pestle if you want a finer consistency. 

For the grits: Bring milk, chicken stock, and salt to a boil in a stockpot over medium-high heat. Slowly add in grits while whisking continuously. Turn heat to low and cover. Stir every 2-3 minutes to keep grits from sticking or getting clumpy. Cook for about 20 minutes, or until grits are thick and creamy. Remove from heat and add butter, pepper, and cheese. Cover and set aside.

Put andouille sausage in a large sauté pan and heat over medium. Cook until much of the fat is rendered and the sausage is caramelized, about 5 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, remove sausage from pan. Add green onions, mushrooms, and garlic to the pan with the sausage fat. sprinkle with 1 tsp. cajun spice rub. Cook until onions and mushrooms are tender, about 5 minutes. Remove from pan. 

Coat pan with olive oil and heat over medium. Coat catfish generously with cajun spice rub. When pan is hot add catfish. Cook 3-4 minutes per side, until fish is flaky. Add mushroom mixture back into pan and heat through. To plate, spoon grits onto plate and top with fish and mushroom mixture. Sprinkle with green onions to garnish. 

Grongnet, Blanc de Blancs, Champagne, NV

This wine is a Blanc de Blancs and a true Champagne. As a true Champagne, it is from the Champagne region of France. Champagne is typically made of a blend of 3 grapes: pinot noir, pinot meunier, and chardonnay. Blanc de Blancs is made only with the chardonnay grape; this makes Blanc de Blancs a more delicate sparkling wine.

This is an interesting and very citrusy Blanc de Blancs. It has a soft mousse, distinct flavor of lime zest, and is quite tart. It should be paired with something rich and creamy, like a triple creme brie.

Price: $33

Taste: 3.5
Value: 3
Drinkability: 2.5
Effervescence: 1
Overall: 10