One of my favorite salmon recipes comes from Barbara Lynch’s cookbook, Stir: Mixing It Up In The Italian Tradition. I follow her pan-seared salmon method just about any time I’m cooking salmon inside as opposed to the grill. But what has me writing here is to discuss a pairing for salmon with olive lemon relish, a very tasty recipe from Stir.
In this preparation, the salmon gets topped with a relish made from olives and lemon. The lemon includes bits of the fruit as well as the juice. Shallots, parsley, honey and white wine vinegar round out the taste. If you don’t have the book you could probably come up with your own version, though I do recommend the cookbook!
I often go for Pinot Noir with salmon, and that can work pretty well with this dish. But I also had a side dish of pasta with dandelion greens, and was thinking a white would offset the bitterness of the greens better than a red. So wound up choosing the 2012 Champalou Vouvray, 100% Chenin Blanc. The wine has a nice, clean crisp taste and a delicate floral bouquet. Definitely a nice pairing for the salmon as well as the dandelion pasta!
Could a Syrah paired with fish work? It sounds like an unorthodox pairing, but I like to try new things! I had a bottle of 2011 Halter Ranch Syrah from Paso Robles that I wanted to use for the September Wine Pairing Weekend event. I’ve enjoyed this before paired with steak, but in the spirit of trying something new, I wondered if grilled tuna paired with a Syrah could work.
There were a few factors that helped make this a good pairing. For starters, a meaty tuna steak is very substantial, matching the body of the Syrah. Then I added some spice to the dish, by serving the tuna with grilled eggplant with spicy peppers. These veggies bridged to the wine nicely, as did the cumin garlic mixture I rubbed onto the tuna steak. Get all the recipe details over on Cooking Chat.
Now, more about that Halter Ranch Syrah. This wine has a big fragrance of violets and forest floor. I got blackberry jam and white pepper taste. I had my initial taste before I started grilling the tuna. By the time we settled down to eat about 10 minutes later, the Syrah had really opened nicely and was showing a lot of finesse on the long finish. This helped it make a nice harmonious pairing with the tuna–plenty of substance for this meaty fish with the spice element to work with the food. A good wine and a nice pairing! In fact, one thing that reminded me to blog about it this morning is I’m making it again for a gourmet get together with friends tonight!
Wine pairing for steamers! I was excited to read Jeff’s Wine Pairing Weekend post pairing steamed clams and mussels with Cava for a number of reasons.
I’m getting ready to head to Cape Cod next week, and I expect my Dad will make a batch of steamers at least once while there. This is typically a post-beach snack, an hour or two before dinner. Usually beers are cracked open to go with it. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t mind a nice cold beer after the beach. But hey, I am more of a wine guy, especially when comes to what to drink along with food. So I’m glad to know that there’s a good bubbly option besides beer to go with the steamers.
Cava is a nice option when you want a sparkling wine at significantly less than Champagne prices. It sounds like Jeff, who blogs at foodwineclick, found a good one for his steamer pairing: Campos de Estrellas Estate Cava Brut ($15). It definitely met our #winePW 2 theme of “refreshing summer pairings”. Get on over to foodwineclick to get all the tasty details of the pairing.
Oh yes, there’s one more great thing to mention about Jeff’s post. The steamer and Cava pairing was enjoyed on his porch….what better way to enjoy a summer day!
Photo courtesy of Jeff Burrows, foodwineclick.com.
My first instinct for salmon is to serve a Pinot Noir, but sometimes the topping or sauce calls for a white. When I made some mango salsa for grilled salmon recently recently, a white definitely seemed to be the call to go with the tropical fruit. I had a white Burgundy I was eager to try, and thought it could potentially work. I wound up being pleasantly surprised at how wonderfully the pairing came together. Get all the recipe details over in my Wine Pairing Weekend 2 post on Cooking Chat: Grilled Salmon with Mango Salsa and a White Burgundy.
The Burgundy I chose was the 2012 Guffens-Heynen Macon-Pierreclos Le Chavigne. We got honey and clover on the nose. Nice fruit on the wine–cantaloupe perhaps? Also a touch of honey–the fruit and honey definitely made this taste like summer in a glass. Perhaps most notable was the depth of texture in this wine, providing a great mouthfeel and long finish. This really made the pairing work–the wine had just the right weight to go along with the salmon–not to light, not so big it would overwhelm. The flavors in the salsa flowed seamlessly with the fruit and honey taste of the wine.
I loved the wine, but it’s not the style I tend to expect and seek in a white Burgundy. I typically gravitate toward an austere style with lots of minerality, and don’t expect such ripe fruit as we had in this one. I guess this is just a reminder that great Burgundy can come in different styles! Our pairing worked great, but I would by no means make a general recommendation to pair Chardonnay with this dish–many chards would be too oaky and/or buttery to play nicely with the flavors in the mango salsa. For Chardonnay to work here, it needs to be one that really let’s the fruit shine as our choice did. For a Burgundy, this one from Guffens-Heynen is a good value and worth tracking down–it seems to be available for around $30ish.