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Restaurant Mosaic at the Orient pairs Land and Sea with Sijnn White 2011

Restaurant Mosaic at the Orient has been known for their meticulous approach to food and wine pairing. Sommelier Germain Lehodey and Chef Chantel Dartnall work together in deconstructing each ingredient in every dish to achieve the “Perfect Pairing”. Chantel and Germain understand the chemistry between food and wine, the symphony of tastes between Chantel’s botanical creations and the wine that they pair with every dish speaks of love and passion.

Chef Chantel and sommelier Germain

The Mosaic cellar is known to be one of the finest in the country, with some of the best and most rare wines from both South Africa and internationally. Not surprising, it was the Sijnn White 2011 (73% Chenin Blanc/27% Viognier) that stood head and shoulders above the rest of the wines we considered during our journey to find the wine we wanted to feature with the gurnard main course on our Autumn 2013 Menu.

Land and Sea paired with Sijnn White 2011

Land and Sea is a composition of pan seared gurnard with a fragrant caper velouté and a seasonal vegetable salad, dressed with lemon olive oil and potato seaweed purée. The dish derives its name from the combination of the gurnard from the sea, along with sweet and fragrant organic baby vegetables from the earth, which is paired with Sijnn White 2011.

Recipe:

Cape Velouté

  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 2 cups fish stock (fumet)
  • Maldon salt and freshly ground white pepper

Over low heat in a medium saucepan, melt the butter. Add the flour, while whisking continuously for 2-3 minutes; do not brown. Continuing to whisk, pour fumet slowly into flour mixture. Over low heat, simmer and skimming occasionally to remove any impurities that may form on the surface. Slow cooking is necessary to remove the flour taste and reduce the sauce. After approximately 25-30 minutes, when the mixture reaches the desired consistency, season to taste with salt and pepper. Makes about 1 1/2 cups.

Fish Stock

  • 2 kg fish heads and carcasses, rinsed and broken into pieces
  • 1 large onion, cut into chunks
  • 1 carrot, cut into slices
  • 1 stick celery, cut into slices
  • 1 bouquet garni
  • 10 cups water
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 10 black peppercorns
  • Fennel or dill trimmings

In a large pan, place fish trimmings, onion, carrot, celery, bouquet garni, water and salt. Then add the fennel and dill trimming. Over low heat, bring to a boil, skimming occasionally as fatty substances rise to the surface. Simmer for approximately 20 minutes.

Add peppercorns and continue to simmer for an additional 40 minutes. Stock is now done. Further cooking will cause a bitter flavour.

Strain the stock through a colander, but do not press down on the mass. Pressing solids clouds the stock, making it unusable for aspic or a clear sauce. This stock will makes 8 cups.

To finish the sauce

  • 1 tablespoon capers, rinsed and drained
  • 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
  • Fish velouté, recipe above
  • Freshly grated orange zest

Mix capers and vinegar with velouté and some freshly chopped dill to finish the sauce before serving.

Extra notes:
The term velouté is from the French adjective form of velour, meaning velvet. In preparing a velouté sauce, a light stock (one in which the bones that are used, have not been previously roasted), such as chicken or fish stock, is thickened with a blond roux. Thus the ingredients of a velouté are equal parts of butter and flour to form the roux, a light chicken or fish stock, salt and pepper for seasoning.

Reason why we paired the Sijnn White 2011 with this dish:

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The rocky soils of Malagas at the mouth of the Breede River, brings a great freshness and even some saline characteristic to the Sijnn White 2011. Because of this harsh terroir the vines produce extremely low yields, resulting in wines with a great complexity.

It was the complexity that drew us to this Sijnn wine, as so many of the beautiful flavours merged with the elements and ingredients we selected for this dish. The saltiness of the seaweed powder we introduced in the purée elevated the taste of the slight salinity in the wine and we were very impressed to see how well the marinated capers and the fennel enhanced and complimented the Chenin Blanc component of the wine. The slightly stronger taste of the gurnard is in perfect harmony with the vibrancy and complexity of the wine. As a final touch we added a bit of freshly grated orange zest to merge all the flavours together to compliment the Viognier.

One of Restaurant Mosaic’s “Perfect Pairings”.

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