Cooking With Wine

Enliven dishes with your favorite wines.

Adding wine to your favorite recipe can impart wonderful flavor, but too much or the wrong style can put the kibbosh on a potentially delicious dinner. Here's how to make it work:




Consider Components. Wine contains sugars, acids and tannins—and each of these will show up on the plate. Subtle characteristics, by contrast, normally disappear with cooking. To maintain balance, check your recipe for acidic ingredients like lemon juice or vinegar and cut back to make room for the acid in the wine. For delicate fish or vegetables, a dry non-oaked wine works best. If your recipe is packed with onions, carrots and tomatoes there will be plenty of sugars in the pot, so a fuller-bodied, less dry red or white wine can integrate perfectly.

Red or White? Use the type of wine you'd serve with dinner to make the dish. Even better, unless you're pouring something rare or expensive, buy an extra bottle and cook with it. When you're cooking with red wines, watch out for tannins. When concentrated in reduction sauces, they can become harsh. Fortunately, proteins found in meat and dairy declaw tannins like milk does tea, according to food scientist Harold McGee.

The Regional Approach. Josh Adler, wine buyer for San Francisco's famous Bi-Rite market, offers blissfully simple wisdom for cooking with wine, "I like to stick with wine that comes from the same place as the ingredients or recipe I'm using. Food and wine have always evolved in harmony with one another so they're naturally matched."



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