There’s a New Zealand producer, called Cooper’s Creek, who make a Sauvignon Blanc called Cat’s Pee on a Gooseberry Bush. This isn’t just an attention-grabbing name, it’s also an accurate description of the smell given off by some New Zealand Sauvignons. If you don’t believe me, ask Jancis Robinson.
Weirdly, it’s a taste a lot of people enjoy. Not me. And that’s why I was annoyed with myself last Friday, when I chose an NZ Sauv Blanc to go with my crab linguine. I’d been looking forward to that crab linguine all day — it’s one of the quickest and easiest recipes I know. I was also looking forward to slurping a few glasses while preparing it. But no, the cat’s pee ruined my focus. New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc: I blame you for making a mess of my meal.
Ok here’s the recipe, with cock-ups left in so you can learn from my mistakes.
Ingredients (I don’t do accurate measurements, sorry)
A tin of crab meat or equivalent amount of fresh crab.
Two garlic cloves.
A large glass of white wine (plus one for yourself).
A red chilli (medium heat).
Crème fraîche (full fat).
Stick the linguine on (obviously this will take eight to ten minutes) and heat the oil in another pan, then add the onion, garlic and chilli. Don’t get distracted by the radio and burn the garlic like I did. It’ll be bitter, and so will you.
After a few minutes, add LOTS of wine. Really slosh it in there, don’t be shy. Enjoy the music of its sizzle and get a whiff of those fumes. And have a few glugs yourself, it aids creativity. Can you see why I like this recipe?
Add a big squeeze of lemon. Don’t use a lemon squeezer, like Gary Rhodes; use your hands, like Jamie Oliver. And don’t forget to buy the lemon, like I did. It’ll taste rubbish without that acidity hit.
Pour in the crème fraîche and crab and reduce the heat a bit. If all goes well, it’ll be ready around the same time as the linguine.
Sprinkle with some finely chopped chives. These don’t contribute a lot to the flavour, but they add some much-needed colour. It’s an overdose of beigeness otherwise.
Pair with a lovely, cold Muscadet. Not a New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc, unless you like the taste of cat’s piss.*
*Not all New Zealand Sauvignon Blancs taste of cat’s piss.