When Tracy and Blake of Settembre Cellars described to me their 2009 Colorado Chardonnay, I wanted to make a food pairing as crisp and appley as the wine. An afternoon trip to Cured provided me with an idea for the base: beautiful, artisanal baguettes, perfect for transforming into aromatic olive oil and sea salt crostini.
From there, the topping almost made itself: lightly sauteed apple relish tossed with goat feta and topped with piment d'espelette sea salt (gorgeous floral Southern French paprika mixed with French gray salt).
Needless to say, the Chardonnay was in good company...
For the Crostini: Slice a good-quality baguette into very thin slices (I aim to get atleast 50 out of one baguette). Arrange on a baking sheet, brush with EVOO (first cold pressing if you want all those aromatics), sprinkle with sea salt and bake at 350 for about 15 minutes, flipping halfway through.
For the Relish: Finely dice a medium-sized shallot. Saute in butter on low heat with a pinch of sea salt until soft and sweet, about 10 minutes. Meanwhile, dice 1 medium zucchini, 1 medium yellow squash, 2 granny smith apples and 2 sweet apples (my favorite is pink lady). When shallots are soft, turn heat up to medium high, add zucchini and squash. Saute about 1 minute, stirring constantly; add apples and saute 2 minutes more. Remove from heat, add juice of 1 large lemon and 1 tsp. piment d'espelette salt. Let cool to room temperature, then refrigerate at least 1 hour for the flavors to marry. Toss in 4 oz. crumbled goat feta, taste and season with more lemon or piment salt if necessary.