Cooking with Wine
Carole & Simone Offer Savory Dinner Party Techniques
Carole Kotkin is a syndicated Miami Herald food columnist and co-author of “MMMMiami – Tempting Tropical Tastes for Home Cooks Everywhere.” She is also the manager of The Cooking School at The Ocean Reef Club, food editor for “The Wine News” magazine, and co-host of “Food and Wine Talk” on southfloridagourmet.com.
Simone Zarmati Diament is editor-in-chief and publisher of www.SouthFloridaGourmet.com and founder of The South Florida Gourmet, a publication focusing on food, restaurant and wine news, dining entertainment, wines, spirits and travel.
Food and wine form as natural a marriage in the kitchen as they do at the table. Even before ingredients are cooked, wine may be used as a flavoring agent in a marinade. Wine makes an aromatic poaching or braising vehicle for everything from fish and shellfish to meat, poultry and game. A sauce for sautés or roasts can be quickly made by using a splash of wine to dissolve the brown bits left in the pan. When substituted for vinegar, white wine makes a pleasing vinaigrette dressing, excellent with chicken salad or plain salad greens.
For desserts, combinations of wine and fresh or dried fruit provide many variations of flavor. Wine also enhances sorbets, ices or granitas and egg custards such as zabaglione. It’s a common error to think that cooking wine need not be good: if it’s not, reduction will only concentrate its undistinguished flavor. I wouldn’t sacrifice a bottle of vintage Bordeaux to the stew pot, but I would select a decent, drinkable wine of the same varietal that you will be drinking with dinner—say a Cabernet Sauvignon in the $8 to $10 range.
Many people still believe in the rigid rules of mating wine and food – that red wine goes with beef and white wine with chicken and fish. But just as red wine is now frequently served with fish, many chefs are preparing red wine sauces with salmon, tuna and other fish, as well as with veal, chicken and eggs.
Kevin Zraly author of Windows on the World Complete Wine Course remarks, “Forget everything you’ve ever heard about wine and food pairing. There’s only one rule when it comes to matching wine and food: The best wine to pair with your meal is whatever wine you like. No matter what.”
The color of a wine will influence the appearance of the dish, but it’s the wine’s taste, texture and other qualities that determine whether to use it or not. People who must completely avoid alcohol shouldn’t cook with wine, since not all of the alcohol cooks out. For most of us, however, a small amount presents no problem.