Wine Matches Made in Heaven
Get ready to fall in love: Wine Enthusiast transformed five traditional wine–and-food marriages by spicing up the recipes and adding new pairing partners. Sourced straight from the expert palates of top chefs and sommeliers, these dishes will heat up your holiday.
Recipe courtesy William Crandall, executive chef, Azul at Mandarin Oriental, Miami
Instead of oysters and Chablis, try Malpeque oysters with sparkling sake. Inspired by a delicate oyster dish that incorporates trout roe and effervescence powder for a surprising, sparkling effect, this DIY version provides its pop by including San Pellegrino.
4 chilled Malpeque oysters, freshly shucked and cleaned (shells reserved)
2 tablespoons trout roe (smoked, if available)
2 teaspoons sudachi juice (available at Asian markets)
3 tablespoons San Pellegrino sparkling water
½ teaspoon yuzu kosho (available at Asian markets)
4 purple shiso leaves (or other decorative, edible garnish)
Place freshly shucked and cleaned oysters on the half shell. Garnish each oyster with roe and drizzle with sudachi juice and San Pellegrino. Add a dab of yuzu kosho and place one shiso leaf or other edible garnish on each oyster. Serve immediately. Serves 2.
Sommelier Todd Phillips recommends Gekkeikan Zipang Junmai Sparkling Sake to match with the sparkling oyster. “It’s an exotic twist on the traditional oyster pairing,” says Phillips. “This sake is elegant, with slight notes of citrus to go with the sudachi and yuzu.”
Recipe courtesy Jason Pringle, executive chef, db Bistro Moderne, Miami
Instead of butter-poached lobster and Chardonnay, try lobster salad with pesto aioli and Timorasso. Unlike the decadent classic, this version stars a bright citrus vinaigrette and basil aioli, making this dish light and refreshing, not to mention a terrific canvas for white-wine experimentation.
3 lemons, sliced
5 tablespoons coarse salt
2 live lobsters (Maine preferred, approximately 1½–2 pounds each)
4 cloves garlic
1½ cups extra virgin olive oil, plus extra for sautéing garlic
Pinch of salt
1 egg yolk
1 teaspoon fine sea salt
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 lemon, juiced
1 bunch parsley, rinsed, leaves picked
1 bunch basil, rinsed, leaves picked
¼ cup toasted pine nuts
1 pound mixed lettuce, washed
2 red bell peppers, cored, seeded and sliced
3 ripe avocados, halved, pitted, peeled and cut into bite-sized pieces
4 ounces fresh hearts of palm, sliced
3 limes, zested and juiced
Freshly ground white pepper
In a large stockpot, bring 1 gallon of water with the lemon and salt to a boil, and place a large bowl of ice water on the side. Drop lobsters into the pot, making sure they are submerged (add water if necessary), and cover with a lid. Let simmer for 10 minutes, and then transfer lobsters to the ice water to chill.
Strain and pat dry lobsters. Remove the meat from the claws and knuckles of the lobster. Cut off the tails, slice them in half lengthwise through the shell and remove the veins. Cut the tail meat into pieces and keep lobster chilled while preparing the aioli.
Place the garlic cloves in a small saucepan and cover with several tablespoons of olive oil and a pinch of salt. Cook on low heat (only a few bubbles should rise to the surface) for approximately 30–40 minutes, or until tender and golden. Remove from the heat and keep cloves submerged in the oil until ready to use.
In a medium bowl, combine the yolk, salt, Dijon mustard and lemon juice with a whisk. Slowly stream in the olive oil, while whisking, to make a very thick mayonnaise. Reserve and refrigerate.
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and place a bowl of ice water on the side. Boil the parsley leaves until very tender, and then transfer them to ice water to chill. Squeeze dry. Repeat the process with the basil leaves. Transfer the cooked herbs to a blender, add cooked garlic and purée with enough ice water to make a thick mixture. Add pine nuts and pulse several times to combine. Combine with the mayonnaise and reserve in refrigerator until ready to use.
To finish, in a large bowl, toss the lobster meat, lettuce, peppers, avocado, hearts of palm, lime zest and juice with olive oil, salt and pepper to taste. Divide onto 6 plates, and serve chilled, accompanied by the pesto aioli (use a piping bag or just put dollops of aioli on each plate). Serves 6.
Sommelier Christopher Birnie-Visscher recommends Vigneti Massa’s 2010 Derthona from Piedmont. “The tropical aromatics, like apple, watermelon, guava and pineapple, bring out the sweetness of the lobster and pair perfectly with the avocados in the salad,” says Birnie-Visscher. “This wine is 100% Timorasso, making this pairing extra special since the grape variety almost became extinct.”
Photo by Bill Milne
Recipe courtesy Andrew Zimmerman, executive chef, Sepia Restaurant, Chicago
Instead of steak and a California Cabernet Sauvignon, try cider-braised pork shanks with a Pinot Blanc. “The cider-braised pork shank is a romantic and sexy meal for Valentine’s Day because it’s got layers of flavor and a decadently tender texture,” says Chef Zimmerman. “And because of its size, it demands to be shared.” At Sepia, Zimmerman serves the pork with a hearty side of sauerkraut, apples and potatoes, complementing the apple cider braise.
2 cinnamon sticks
2 star anise pods
1 teaspoon fennel seeds
2 teaspoons coriander seeds
1 teaspoon black peppercorns
1 sprig rosemary
4 sprigs thyme
4 skinless pork hind shanks, about 1 ½–2 pounds each
Spice rub (recipe below)
4 tablespoons duck fat (pork fat or vegetable oil may be substituted), divided
2 celery stalks, diced
1 medium onion, diced
2 medium carrots, peeled, diced
1 granny smith apple, quartered
1 head garlic, top removed
2 quarts apple cider
2 cups chicken stock (homemade or low sodium)
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, diced
Place cinnamon sticks, cloves, star anise, seeds, peppercorns, rosemary and thyme into a cheesecloth bag and set aside for later use.
Rub the pork shanks with the spice rub mixture (some will fall off). Place the shanks in a nonreactive pan and let them rest 8 hours or overnight in the refrigerator. The next day, rinse the shanks under cold running water and pat dry with kitchen towels. Preheat an oven to 300˚F.
Heat two tablespoons of the duck fat in a large Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the shanks in batches of two, depending on size of Dutch oven, and carefully brown the shanks thoroughly. As the pan drippings caramelize and brown, scrape the browned bits from the pan and pour into a small bowl, reserve drippings for later. Do not allow the caramelized juices in the bottom of the pan to burn—add a splash of water, if needed.
Before cooking the second half of the shanks, wipe out the pan and add the remaining duck fat. When the pork shanks have browned (approximately 15 minutes) remove from pan. Add the celery, onions and carrots to the Dutch oven and cook them until they turn light brown. Return the shanks to the pan, add the apples, the garlic, all of the cider and stock and the bag of herbs and spices.
Cover the Dutch oven and place in the oven. Cook for about 2–2½ hours or until the meat is fork tender. Carefully remove the shanks from the oven and place them on a platter. Tent the shanks with foil to keep them warm. Strain the braising liquid through a fine sieve into a saucepot and add the reserved pan drippings. Discard the vegetables and spice bag. Skim the fat off the top of the braising liquid and discard. Bring the liquid to a boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer and reduce the braising liquid by about half. Whisk the butter into the sauce and season with salt and pepper to taste. Pour the sauce over the shanks and serve. Serves 4–6.
For the spice rub:
3 cinnamon sticks
2 whole star anise
1½ tablespoons black peppercorns
1 tablespoon coriander seed
2 teaspoon fennel seed
6 whole cloves
½ cup salt
¼ cup sugar
2 medium garlic cloves, minced
Toast the cinnamon sticks, star anise, peppercorns, seeds and cloves in a medium-sized pan over medium-high heat until fragrant, approximately 5 minutes. Grind the spices in a coffee mill and combine spice mixture in a bowl with the salt, sugar and garlic to create spice rub.
Beverage Director Arthur Hon recommends a Pinot Blanc, like an Austrian Weissburgunder, to match with the cider-braised pork. “Hiedler’s Maximum Weissburgunder from 2008 really brings out the comforting flavors of apple cider while standing toe to toe with the pork shank,” says Hon. “It’s a rich and luxurious white wine for a succulent dish.”
Recipe courtesy Michelle Poteaux, owner/pastry chef, Bastille, Alexandria, Virginia
Equipment: An ice cream maker
Instead of Port and Stilton cheese, try Parmesan gelato with poached pears and a dry red wine. Eye-catching ruby-red pears—soaked in wine, naturally—create a most apropos topping for this Valentine’s Day dish. Plus, the savory Parmesan component makes it a playful cheese-course substitution.
1 cup Parmesan cheese, finely grated
3 cups whole milk at room temperature, divided
2 cups heavy cream
3 egg yolks
½ teaspoon salt
8 small Anjou pears, peeled
1 750-ml bottle of red wine (Cabernet Sauvignon preferred)
2 cups orange juice
2 cups sugar
½ cinnamon stick (preferably Ceylon cinnamon)
8 cardamom pods
8 cracked black peppercorns
Large strip of lemon zest
Soak the grated Parmesan in a small bowl with 1 cup of milk for 1 hour.
Heat the remaining milk and cream in a saucepot over medium-high heat. When the milk and cream reaches scalding point (almost a boil), add the soaked Parmesan and the remaining milk. Stir with a wooden spoon to keep the cheese from sticking to the bottom of the pot. Let simmer for 2 minutes.
Line a small strainer with cheesecloth or paper towels and place it over a bowl. Pour the contents of the pot through the cheesecloth and let stand for about 1 hour to drain completely. Discard the gummy residue of the cheese remaining in the strainer. Remove any cheese grains in the reserved liquid.
Place the drained Parmesan cream mixture into a saucepot and put it back on the stove over very low heat.
While the milk and cream are heating, whisk together the egg yolks and the salt in a bowl. Temper the eggs by gradually adding the hot Parmesan liquid into the eggs, whisking well. Transfer all ingredients back into the saucepot and cook over low heat until the mixture reaches 183˚F with a thermometer.
Remove from the heat immediately and strain the mixture into a clean bowl and chill in an ice water bath until completely cold. Prepare the gelato, following the ice cream maker’s directions.
In a large saucepan, combine the pears with the wine, orange juice, sugar, cloves, cinnamon, cardamom, peppercorns and lemon zest. Cut a round of parchment paper slightly smaller than the pan and lay it on top of the pears to keep the fruit submerged.
Bring the mixture to a boil over high heat and then reduce the heat to low and simmer until the pears are just tender, about 25 minutes.
Let the pears cool in the poaching liquid, and then refrigerate it overnight under the parchment so the pears retain their ruby color.
Transfer the pears to a plate lined with paper towels and blot them dry. Strain the poaching liquid and reserve if desired (to pour over the gelato).
To finish, slice the pears and divide into 8 servings. Top each plate with a scoop of gelato. Serves 8.
Mark Slater, service and beverage director at Bastille, suggests a Malbec for pairing with the wine-drenched pears and Parmesan gelato. Try Château de Chambert’s 2009 Cahors, because of its “fine structure and suave tannins.”
Recipe courtesy Rick Bayless, chef, Red O, Newport Beach, California
Instead of chocolate and Champagne, try chili-chocolate fudge with caramel popcorn and a sparkling red Brachetto. Homemade fudge gets a spicy, South-of-the-Border kick with chili-spiked chocolate fudge squares and guajillo-dusted caramel corn, courtesy of Mexican cooking authority and TV personality, Rick Bayless.
2 cups heavy cream
½ cup evaporated milk
¾ cup corn syrup, divided
5⅓ cups dark chocolate (65–70%)
1⅘ cups softened butter, divided
2 teaspoons salt, divided
9 tablespoons guajillo chili powder, divided
1 package popcorn
2 cups brown sugar
1 tablespoon molasses
½ teaspoon baking soda
1 mango, diced
Combine the cream, evaporated milk and ¼ cup of corn syrup in a medium-sized pot and bring to the scalding point (just before boiling). In a bowl, combine the chocolate, 3 tablespoons of the guajillo powder, 1 teaspoon of salt and ⅘ cup of the softened butter.
Whisking slowly, pour the hot cream over the chocolate mixture to start to melt it together. Whisk until mixture is completely melted. Pour into a fudge pan, mold or other container and let mixture set at room temperature for 2–3 hours before cutting.
Preheat an oven to 325˚F.
Cook popcorn according to package directions. Set aside. In a medium-sized pot, combine the brown sugar, the remaining butter, the remaining corn syrup, molasses and the remaining salt. Bring mixture to a boil and continue to cook until it reaches 250˚F with a candy thermometer. Then add the baking soda and whisk in until combined. Pour mixture over popcorn and add the remaining guajillo chili powder. Toss until all the popcorn is covered with the caramel. On a greased baking sheet, bake popcorn for 20 minutes, tossing again after 10 minutes. Let popcorn cool to room temperature.
To serve, cut fudge into 2-inch squares. Top with ¼-cup guajillo caramel corn and garnish with a sprinkling of fresh-diced mangos. Serves 10–12.
Christopher Janz, sommelier at Red O, recommends Rosa Regale Brachetto d’Acqui to match with the chili-chocolate dessert. “It has flavors of raspberry and strawberry and a slight herbaceous finish,” says Janz, “pairing perfectly with chocolate.”
- 1Sparkling Malpeque oysters
- 2Maine lobster salad with pesto aioli
- 3Cider-braised pork shanks
- 4Parmesan gelato with red-wine-poached pears
- 5Chili-chocolate fudge with mangos and guajillo caramel popcorn