As the weather turns cold, stay in with a spread of Persian dishes that offer abundant notes of warm and earthy spice. A classic menu has vibrant color and flavor, but it’s more familiar than you might think: a couple of dips adorned with fresh herbs, nuts and rose petals; vermillion-tinged saffron chicken kebabs; and a hot, crispy appetizer made with potatoes. These dishes provide a canvas for wines ranging from red to bubbly. Each dish can be served individually or presented all together as a meal with any of the wines recommended below.
A dip or spread with a little heat keeps guests snacking and snipping. Borani-bademjan is a deeply flavored counterpart to baba ganoush: Garlicky roasted eggplant is garnished with fried shallots, walnuts, red chili flake, fresh herbs and sometimes pomegranate molasses.
The Wine: Look for a light-bodied red like Pinot Noir to complement the richness in this dish.
- Scar of the Sea 2016 Seven Leagues Pinot Noir (Santa Maria Valley)
- Pike Road 2015 Pinot Noir (Willamette Valley)
Chicken kebabs are a perfect protein-packed party food—hearty, tasty and easily hand held. Persian jujeh kebab are boosted by a flavorful marinade of yogurt, saffron, olive oil, lemon juice and grated shallots.
The Wine: Charred chicken calls for a wine with light tannins and vibrant acidity. A copper-hued, skin-contact wine will fit the bill nicely.
- Channing Daughters 2014 Ramato (Long Island)
- Foradori 2016 Fontanasanta Nosiola (Vigneti delle Dolomiti)
Fried potatoes go beautifully with just about any dish and give a meal bulk and comfort. Kuku sibzamini potato fritters are infused with intense currents of saffron and turmeric.
The Wine: Fried food and bubbles are a natural match. The light effervescence and mild funk found in a pétillant-naturel offsets the richness of the fritters.
- Donkey & Goat 2017 Lily’s Pet Nat Sparkling Chardonnay (Anderson Valley)
- Meinklang 2015 Foam White (Burgenland)
The combination of cucumber and yogurt adds a refreshing note. Think Greek tzatziki and raita from India, Bangladesh or Pakistan. Persian mast-o-khiar is topped with olive oil, mint and fragrant rose-petal dust.
The Wine: Provençal rosé, with its refreshing aromas of wild strawberry and lemon, complements the creamy dip.