Thanks to a healthy summer in my garden, I went searching for something to do with my surplus of lettuce. Food & Wine Magazine has complied a list of lettuce cup recipes that make it hard to choose only one. I love the idea of lettuce cups or wraps for summer dinners. They make great vehicles for protein and other veggies, while keeping the meal lighter than it would be if bread were involved.
I thought the Latin-Spiced Chicken in Lettuce Cups sounded like the most fun (and probably the most difficult) pairing. You have the green flavours from the fruits and vegetables to contend with (lettuce, cabbage, onions, cilantro, jalapeños, lime juice) as well as the heat and spice (chili powder, black pepper, jalapeños). Roasted chicken is a protein that is quite flexible with whites and rosés, as well as lighter reds. I thought this dish could go either way, particularly alongside a red with earthy and spicy notes, but in the end opted for the vibrancy of a white.
The best whites for this job are those with lots of acid to contend with the citrus juice, and grassy and green fruit aromas to compliment the pungent greenness in the cilantro and jalapenos. I found the 2014 Touraine Sauvignon Blanc from Jacky Marteau - a bottle with tons of value that hits all those notes and more. For something from the shelves of My Wine Canada, check out Le Vieux Pin's 2014 Petit Blanc. It is a blend of mostly Pinot Gris and Sauvignon Blanc, and offers plenty of fresh aromatics. With some riper stone fruit notes, it will also compliment the spiciness in the chicken.
Jake Skakun is a writer and sommelier from Vancouver, currently living in Toronto. He can be found most days pulling corks and twisting caps at the Black Hoof. He Tweets and Instagrams @jakeskakun.