New Zealand chef Gwithyen Thomas from Aroha in Los Angeles says that his favorite food-and-wine pairing is Cloudy Bay clams with sauvignon blanc. The clams, he says, “are from the cleanest area in the world—they have so much meat to them, with great ocean-fresh flavor”; the bivalves’ salinity is a complement to the brisk white. For the same reason, steamed mussels are frequent companions at table with sauvignon blanc.
Though adding fish and saffron to the mix might seem to complicate the wine pairing a bit, sauvignon blanc is still a terrific choice—if you choose the right sort of sauvignon. Some New Zealand sauvignon blancs have pungent, lively lime and gooseberry flavors; other bottlings are a little fleshier in the mouth, with flavors that are more tropical/white stone fruit. In this case, you’ll want the latter kind. (We paired Villa Maria Private Bin Sauvignon Blanc with it.) —Food52
New England clams
Atlantic Salmon, diced
Snapper or Pacific Rockfish, diced
chili flakes (if desired)
slices crusty sourdough bread
In This Recipe
In a large pot, sauté shallots and garlic until lightly browned.
Add clams, mussels, and saffron. Add chili flakes, if desired. Add fish stock.
Once the shellfish are open, usually in about 4 minutes, season with salt, cover the pot, and lower the heat to very low. Add the fish, which should cook very quickly (3 to 5 minutes).
Divide seafood equally among four bowls and top with broth. Serve with a slice of crusty sourdough bread. Garnish with lemon slices and serve immediately.
Note: Here, we've substituted New Zealand seafood for offerings such as Prince Edward Island mussels, New England clams, Atlantic salmon, and/or Pacific rockfish. Ora King salmon, which is sustainably farmed in New Zealand’s Marlborough Sounds and certified “green” by Seafood Watch can be purchased from Fresh Direct and other gourmet purveyors. If you have access to it, you can use green-lipped mussels, Cloudy Bay clams, and New Zealand snapper.