Cape Bokkom Salad and Pierneef Sauvignon Blanc for summer

This weekend we will be serving our 2014 Pierneef Sauvignon Blanc at Franschhoek Summer Wines, an annual celebration of the best summer wines in the valley.

Although a beautiful and refreshing glass on its own, the Pierneef Sauvignon Blanc is made in a style that is exceptionally versatile with food. With a complex character and definite minerality, it works wonderfully with seafood and salads while being a beautiful combination to those often difficult to pair Eastern or spicy dishes.

The 2014 Pierneef Sauvignon Blanc features lino-cut artworks by famed South African landscape artist Jacob Hendrik Pierneef on the front label. Each artwork on the label is accompanied by its original title and Pierneef’s signature. One of the signature dishes on Pierneef à La Motte’s menu is the Cape Bokkom Salad. Pairing the Pierneef Sauvignon Blanc with a combination of seafood and salad seems quite obvious, but when you take into account the intensity and diversity of flavours in this salad the wine has to stand up to, it is quite a remarkable match.

Do you know what bokkoms are? La Motte’s Cape Wineland Cuisine cookbook describes them as follows:

“According to G.D.J. Schotel, bokkom (dried harder or mullet) is a Dutch word used during the seventeenth century to refer to smoked as well as dried herring. Fish with the head, stomach and scales intact were stacked in layers with salt in – between and left for 24 hours, where after they were hung up and dry out. Various fish species were dried in this way, of which harder (mullet) was the most popular.

Many people from other parts of South Africa and overseas first get to know the unusual taste of bokkoms while visiting the Cape. Those who have a good teacher to show them how to clean a bokkom easily will soon be asking for more of this delicacy. It makes for an appetizing starter when half dried and quickly grilled over the goals.

Jan van Riebeeck’s granddaughter wrote to her mother in Batavia in 1710 and mention that she prepared bokkoms with parsley butter. She was probably referring to half-dried bokkoms that were lightly pan –fried.”

Used in slender slivers within Pierneef à La Motte’s popular salad, the bokkoms add intensity and combine beautifully with the sweet and sour dried apricots, wild garlic dressing, creamy egg yolks and earthy almonds and pecorino shavings. While this combination makes for a delightful starter or light lunch it is easy to understand the challenge it holds for a wine match.

Do order this dish when visiting the estate and please have a glass of Pierneef Sauvignon Blanc with it. Otherwise, try the recipe below (Page 65 of the Cape Winelands Cuisine cookbook) and get the 2014 Pierneef Sauvignon Blanc from selected retailers, the La Motte Tasting Room on the estate, online or from Franschhoek Summer Wines during the festival tomorrow.

Cape Bokkom Salad Recipe



2 egg yolks

1 tsp (5 ml) chopped garlic (wild garlic if possible)

1 tsp (5 ml) lemon juice

1 cup (250 ml) finely grated

Matured pecorino cheese

Pinch of Salt

1 tsp (5 ml) Dijon mustard

1 tsp (5 ml) fresh cream

2 anchovy fillets, pounded to the paste

1¼ (300 ml) oil (grapeseed oil or a mild olive oil blend)

¼ cup (60 ml) fish stock or tomato juice

Salt and freshly ground black pepper


Place the egg yolks, garlic, lemon juice pecorino, salt, mustard, cream and anchovy paste in a bowl. Whisk and add the oil a few drops at a time until all is emulsified.

Add the stock or juice at time until the dressing achieves the desired thickness. Season with salt and pepper to taste.



200 g mixed lettuce

1 bokkom* fillet, cut into very fine strips

¼ cup (60 ml) sun –dried tomatoes

¼ cup (60 ml) shaved pecorino cheese

¼ cup (60 ml) flaked almonds, toasted

12 semi hard –boiled quail’s eggs, halved

50 g dried apricots, chopped

¼ cup (60 ml) dressing

¼ cup (60 ml) croutons


Place the lettuce in the bowl. Add the rest of the ingredients, except the croutons, and toss using your hands. Rub the dressing over the leaves, Sprinkle the croutons over the top and serve.

*If it is difficult to find bokkoms, replace with anchovy fillets.

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