For a rustic dish such as this scallops recipe, with its layers of complexity, a wine has to offer either a similar amount of complexity or a dazzling amount of freshness. This Vinho Verde from Portugal is bright and crisp, while two richer wines — a sauvignon blanc from Bordeaux and a chardonnay from the Loire Valley — will nicely up the ante on complexity.
Make this: Lemon-Garlic Scallops with Almonds
Melt 3 tablespoons unsalted butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add 2 cloves garlic, chopped; cook, 1 minute. Stir in 5 ounces slivered almonds; cook, 1 minute. Transfer to a small bowl; mix in finely grated zest of 1 lemon. Heat the skillet over high heat; add 1 1/2 pounds bay scallops, rinsed, patted dry. Brown on one side, about 2 minutes. Stir in nut mixture and juice of 1 lemon; cook, 1 minute. Season with salt. Stir 3 tablespoons chopped parsley. Serve over steamed rice. Makes: 4 servings
Recipe by Kristen Eddy
Pairings by sommelier Alan Beasey of The Purple Pig, as told to Michael Austin:
2016 Quinta do Ameal, Vinho Verde, Portugal: This wine, made from organically grown loureiro grapes, shows traditional Vinho Verde notes of crisp, bright lemony citrus and tingling minerality. It also has just enough body and structure, and a hint of salinity, to make it an ideal pairing for this fresh and rustic dish.
2016 Dourthe La Grande Cuvee, Bordeaux, France: Intensely aromatic with aromas of grapefruit and cut hay, this wine has flavors of citrus and savory herbs. Dourthe adds richness by aging the wine on the lees for six months. It will envelop the rich scallops in the perfect balance of acid and fruit.
2014 Domaine de L’Ecu Lux, Loire Valley, France: This chardonnay was aged in a large, clay amphora, which exposed it to more oxygen, and developed nutty, savory flavors. That nuttiness will enhance the dish’s almonds, and the wine’s toastiness will be perfect with the scallops. Flavors of candied citrus and tropical fruit make this complex wine perfect for this complex dish.