Perfect Portuguese Pairings: Alvarinho

Nov 10, 2015



If you like dry Riesling or expressive Pinot Gris/Grigio, then you will enjoy the flavors of Alvarinho. Alvarinho has an old grape variety of exceptional quality with a high characteristic floral and fruity profile with notes of lime tree, balm mint, honeysuckle, peach, grapefruit, and apple, all well-married with the high acidity typical of crisp white wines from north-west Portugal. The grapes yield balanced wines with good structure and moderate alcohol levels. Adapted from MS Evan Goldstein’s Daring Pairings, here is a perfect Portuguese pairing to bring out the beautiful characteristics of Alvarinho wines. Check out the listings on and use code PORTUGALROCKS for 10% off your perfect pairing! 




Makes 4 to 6 main-course servings



2 ½ quarts water

1 (4- to 6-inch) square kombu (dried kelp)

1 tablespoon instant hon dashi (soup stock) granules

3 tablespoons light soy sauce

1 leek, white part only, coarsely chopped

2 cups firmly packed katsuobushi (dried bonito flakes)



4 cups water

3 pounds Manila clams, scrubbed

% pound dried udon noodles

2 (31/i-ounce) packages enoki mushrooms,

roots trimmed and separated into small bunches

1 bunch fresh chives, cut into 1-inch pieces

2 sheets toasted nori, cut into 1-by-%-inch strips


To make the broth, in a saucepan, bring the water to just below a boil. Remove from the heat. Lightly wipe the kombu with a clean cloth (you don't need to wipe away the white film), and add to the hot water along with the hon dashi granules and soy sauce. Let stand for 30 minutes to rehydrate the kombu. Return the pan to medium-high heat, add the leek, and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer gently for 15 minutes. Remove from the heat, add the kat­suobushi, and let steep for 15 minutes. Strain the broth through a fine-mesh sieve into a clean pan. Taste and adjust with salt (it may not need any).


To cook the clams, pour the water into a large, wide pan and bring to a boil over high heat. Add the clams, cover, and steam, shaking the pan occasionally, just until the clams open, about 3 minutes. Remove from the heat. Using a wire skimmer, transfer the clams to a bowl, discard­ing any that failed to open. Discard the cooking water. Remove the clam meats from their shells and discard the shells. Set the meats aside.


Cook the udon noodles according to the package directions, drain, and reserve.


To serve, bring the broth to a boil, remove from the heat, and add the clams and mushrooms. Divide the noodles evenly among individual serving bowls. Ladle the broth, clams, and mush­rooms over the noodles. Garnish with the chives and nori and serve at once.


NOTE Look for kombu, instant hon dashi, katsuobushi, dried udon, enoki mushrooms, and nori in Japanese or other Asian markets. is excited to offer a unique chance to discover Portugal’s extensive range of wines. Here are our recommendations to taste the diversity of Portugal, available for 10% off when you use the code PORTUGALROCKS. Offer good through January 4, 2016


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