Food and wine combinations seem as old as time. The natural acidity, fruity overtones and complexity of wine stimulates the taste buds, and when you add properly paired food to the mix, the muted flavors prepare your mouth for the brightness of the next sip. Don’t let wine pairing intimidate you; it’s more important to drink a wine you like rather than attempt a fancy pairing and miss the mark. Use these delicious recipes as a jump start down the pleasurable journey of discovering your own perfect match.
This dish is super hearty with rich, earthy overtones. It works best with a bold wine such as Chianti but any dry red wine will work.
Paired with a Bertani Amarone Classico 2001
1 (4-pound) pork loin, tied at regular intervals withbutcher’s twine 2 teaspoons kosher salt 8 fresh sage leaves 2 ½ ounces pancetta 3 cloves garlic, crushed ¼ cup flat parsley leaves ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil 1 cup, plus 1 cup red wine 1 (28-ounce) can tomatoes, crushed, with juice Black pepper
Season the pork with salt, rubbing it into the meat, and place the sage leaves around the loin, secured under the twine. Set aside for 30 minutes. Mince together the pancetta, garlic and parsley to form a homogeneous, smooth mixture. In a large, cast-iron casserole dish or Dutch oven, heat the olive oil and add the pork paste, cooking until it has melted into the oil. Place the pork in the pan and brown on all sides so a uniform crust is formed. Add 1 cup red wine and reduce by three-fourths. Add the remaining cup of wine and the tomatoes, cover, and bring to a low simmer. Cook for 2 hours, until meat is fork tender. Remove loin from casserole dish. Allow to rest 15 minutes and remove string and sage leaves. Serve in 1/3-inch thick slices.
Serves 4 to 6
Capellini Con Mitili (Angel Hair with Mussels)
The beauty of this classic, coastal Italian dish is that when the mussels cook, they open up, allowing all the chopped ingredients inside.
Paired with a Santa Margherita Pinot Grigio 2011
1 pound angel hair pasta 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil ½ onion, thinly sliced into rings 3 cloves garlic, thinly sliced 1 teaspoon dried red chili flakes 4 anchovy fillets, washed and dried 2 tablespoons salted capers 1 bunch Italian parsley leaves, finely chopped to yield 1/4 cup 2 pounds black mussels, scrubbed and de-bearded 1 cup dry white wine
In a large stockpot, bring 6 cups of salted water to a boil. Add the spaghetti and stir so the noodles don’t stick. In a large stockpot, heat the extra-virgin olive oil and lightly sauté the red onion. When the onions are translucent, add the sliced garlic and chili flakes. Sauté until fragrant. Add the anchovies, and using a wooden spoon, smash them into the oil. Add the salted capers, parsley, mussels and white wine, and cover quickly so the steam cooks the mussels. Shake the pot after 1 minute and again after 2 more minutes. Check the mussels; if they are open and plump, they are cooked. Drain the pasta in a colander and divide between four warmed pasta bowls. Divide the mussels between the four bowls of pasta, and pour the wine sauce over, leaving any sandy sediment in the pot.
Seared Salmon Sashimi
A thin layer of fresh ginger and citrus juices lay the foundation for the fresh salmon.
Paired with a Hakutsuru Organic Junmai Sake
1 (6-ounce) fresh salmon fillet, thinly sliced Thinly sliced, fresh ginger (enough to cover the plate or platter being used) 2 cloves fresh shallots, sliced paper thin 1 tablespoon fresh orange juice 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice ½ tablespoon soy sauce 2 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds Extra-virgin olive oil Sesame oil (not toasted) Fresh cilantro for garnish
Layer plate or platter with ginger then top with shallots. Carefully lay slices of salmon on top of ginger and shallots. Lightly drizzle citrus juices and soy sauce on top of salmon. Top with toasted sesame seeds. Heat oils together until just starting to smoke. Carefully drizzle hot oils on top of salmon one drop at a time to sear the salmon. Garnish with cilantro sprigs.
Southwestern Surf and Turf
A superbly visual version of the classic dish, this beautifully baked lobster tail sits on each side of a sirloin roulade served atop a fried potato cake.
Since this dish can go with a bold white or complex red wine, pair it with either a Jayson Chardonnay 2008 or a Château des Jacques Moulin-à-Vent 2010.
1 (8-ounce) center cut fillet, sliced into one long strip 1 lobster tail, split lengthwise 1 cup sautéed red bell peppers and Spanish onions 1 cup mashed potatoes 1 cup all-purpose flour 1 cup seasoned bread crumbs 3 eggs ½ cup beef demi-glace ½ cup shredded Parmesan cheese 1 tablespoon chipotle lime butter
Pan sear the steak to medium rare. Sauté peppers and onions in extra-virgin olive oil until fork tender; set aside Form a potato cake from mashed potatoes. Dredge the patty in flour, then egg wash, then into seasoned bread crumbs. Shallow fry the potato cake in extra-virgin olive oil for 3 minutes per side; set aside. Wrap lobster tail in aluminum foil with chipotle lime butter. Seal tightly and cook in a 400-degree oven for 8 to 10 minutes. Assemble plate with a potato cake on bottom, top with Parmesan cheese, place sauteed vegetables in center of fillet and roll lengthwise to form roulade, then place steak roulade on top of the potato cake with both pieces of lobster stacked on either side of the roulade. Drizzle demiglace over the roulade and potato cake.
Recipe created by Scott Buchanan
by Chef Mark Coffman
Chef Coffman is the owner and executive chef of Sava! Italiano, which features rustic Italian fare. He has served as a private chef and boasts stints in award-winning restaurants.