Caribbean Recipes + Pairings
Think Caribbean food is only good with beer and machine-made margaritas? Think again. Prepare to give your palate a serious sun kiss this season with this primer on pairing wine with some modern (and even healthy) twists on some of the best dishes in the Windwards and West Indies.
The Wine: Aromatic White Blend
The Dish: Poached Lobster with West Indies Chorizo Vinaigrette
Recipe courtesy Wolfgang von Wieser, chef at Grace Bay Club, Turks and Caicos
2 lobster tails
2 ounces mirepoix (2 parts leeks to 1
part celery to 1 part carrot)
Pinch of salt
Pinch of black pepper
½ cup Pinot Grigio
2 large watermelon slices, cut lengthwise
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1 ounce red and green bell peppers, chopped
1 ounce chorizo, diced
1 teaspoon grapeseed oil
1 teaspoon Sherry vinegar
3 tablespoons feta cheese, for garnish
Arugula, for garnish
Place the lobster tails and mirepoix in a large stock pot and season with salt and pepper.
Add the wine and 1 cup of water, and heat the liquid until it simmers but doesn’t boil, poaching the ingredients for 8 minutes. Remove the lobster and set aside to cool. Cut the watermelon into 4" × 1" rectangles and marinate with the Dijon mustard until needed.
Heat a nonstick grill pan over medium-high heat, and grill the watermelon for 5 seconds on each side. Set aside to cool. For the dressing, sauté the peppers with the chorizo in the grapeseed oil and emulsify with the Sherry vinegar.
To finish, lay the grilled watermelon on the plate and top with feta cheese. Remove the lobster from its shell and cut into medallions, placing on top of the watermelon. Drizzle chorizo dressing over the lobster and garnish with arugula. Serves 2.
Chef von Wieser recommends St. Francis Winery’s 2012 White Splash, a blend of Muscat, Gewürztraminer, Pinot Gris and Viognier. “Paired with White Splash, the dish creates a real rock ’n’ roll feeling for your taste buds,” he says.
The Dish: Stone Crabs with Spicy Bahamian Sherry Sauce
Recipe courtesy Elijah Bowe, executive chef at Graycliff Hotel & Restaurant, Nassau, Bahamas
4–5 pounds stone crab legs (about 2 to
3 legs per person)
8 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
1 medium shallot, minced
¼ cup diced tomatoes, seeded
4–6 garlic cloves, chopped
½ bottle white Bordeaux
1 fresh lemon, juiced
2 tablespoons Spicy Bahamian Sherry Sauce (recipe follows)
French baguette, for dipping
Crack the shells of the stone crab legs and discard loose pieces. In a large saucepan over medium-high heat, melt half of the butter. Add the shallot, diced tomatoes and garlic, and cook until shallot is translucent. Add the white wine, and bring the mixture to a simmer.
Add the stone crabs, lemon juice and remaining butter and cook for 15 minutes, stirring and coating crab legs as they simmer in sauce.
On four warm plates, divide the stone crab legs and pour wine sauce over them. Drizzle with Sherry pepper sauce to taste. Serve with crusty bread, like a French baguette, for dipping. Serves 4.
Spicy Bahamian Sherry Sauce
750 ml dry Sherry, like Lustau La Ina Fino Muy Seco (Jerez)
6–8 bird pepper chilies, halved lengthwise
2 sprigs fresh thyme
In a large container, combine the Sherry, chilies and thyme. Store, covered, at room temperature for a minimum of a day; the mixture will keep for about a month. Makes 3¼ cups.
“For this hearty main course, we suggest a fruity or citrusy wine with a large bouquet,” says Enrico Garzaroli, owner of Graycliff Hotel & Restaurant. His pick: Cantina Terlano’s 2011 Quarz Sauvignon Blanc from Alto Adige.
The Dish: Passion Fruit Purée with Tofu, Tomato and Egg Salad
Recipe courtesy Paul Odle, chef de cuisine at The BodyHoliday LeSPORT spa, St. Lucia
¼ ounce tofu, diced
2 ounces teriyaki sauce
1 ounce milk
2 pinches salt
2 pinches black pepper
½ cup olive oil, divided
1 ounce fresh passion fruit
½ ounce honey
½ ounce mixed greens
1½ ounces julienned carrots
1½ ounces julienned red cabbage
1½ ounces julienned white cabbage
1 teaspoon chopped cilantro
¼ ounce sliced tomatoes
In a bowl, combine the tofu and teriyaki sauce and refrigerate overnight.
Whisk the eggs in a bowl with milk, salt and pepper for 1 minute. Add ¼ cup of olive oil to a hot pan and pour in the egg mixture. Spread the egg lightly around in the pan, cooking an omelet.
Remove the omelet from the pan and allow to cool. Roll the omelet into a tube, then cut the tube width wise, so you’re left with a series of rings that are about 2 inches wide.
Cut the passion fruit into four pieces and above a bowl, push the pieces through a colander to remove seeds and pulp, allowing the juice to syphon into the bowl.
In a small bowl, slowly whisk the honey and remaining olive oil with the passion fruit juice until it thickens, then add ½ ounce water. Whisk for another minute, until smooth, then set aside.
In a bowl, toss the greens, carrots, cabbage and cilantro with the passion fruit dressing, and place on two a plates. Garnish with tomato, marinated tofu and sliced egg rings on top to finish. Serves 2.
Shawn LaRue, consulting wine director at the spa recommends Schramsberg’s J. Schram Rosé from California’s North Coast to pair with the dish. The sparkling wine is “a perfect textural match for the tofu, tomato and egg salad with passion fruit,” LaRue says.
How To Pair Wine With Tropical Fruit
“Highly acidic fruits should be paired with a slightly sweeter wine to provide balance,” says Enrico Garzaroli, owner of Graycliff Hotel & Restaurant, Nassau, Bahamas. Auslese Rieslings or Sauternes are two sweet wines ideal for matching with acidic fruits.
“Pairing wine with island dishes crowned by tropical fruit is an exercise in maintaining balance between prominent acidity and fleshy texture,” says Shawn LaRue, consulting wine director for BodyHoliday LeSPORT spa in St. Lucia. That doesn’t mean all fruit pairings need to be white. La Rue suggests Pinot Noir with a dish like off-the-bone pork ribs and pineapple.
Whether they’re dry or off dry, rosés can work with just about any combination of island flavors. “A red wine masquerading in a quasi-white wine’s clothing, rosés are flexible, creative and eminently successful mediators of tropical fruits’ strong influences of acid, texture, and sweet aromatics,” says LaRue. Look for rosés with a hint of sweetness, like those from Rioja, he says.
- 2The Wine: Sauvignon Blanc
- 3The Wine: Rosé