White Wine Food, When You Feel Like Red


photo from dharmabumx on Flickr

Does that ever happen to you? Happens to me all the time. My protein of choice seems to call for white, but I really want a glass of deep, satisfying red wine. Well, most often I say “The heck with it.” and have what I want. As I’ve said, ad nauseum, most wines and foods taste pretty good together and it’s silly to worry about pairing.

But, the fact is, if you haven’t actually cooked the protein yet, there are bridge builders you can use to make a better match.

You could use a pork chop as an example – or chicken breast – or even a piece of sword fish or halibut.

My favorite bridge builders?  

Grill it! Those blackened, crusty grill marks can pull the dish into the red wine column. The grilled flavor loves tannin and makes the oak pop. Still not quite right? Add salt and lemon juice (thank you Tim Hanni.)

Use cured meats: For pork chops I tend to go with a big white or a lighter red like Pinot Noir. But, I want a glass of Cabernet! Well, I know there are a gazillion bacon lovers out there and this offers yet another excuse to cook some up! Put in it the bed of beans or vegetables underneath the pork chop or whatever.

Use red wine: Make a sauce with a liberal amount of red wine in it. Other  flavor builders you might add? Mustard, black-olive tapenade, smoked paprika, soy sauce, truffle salt or umami-rich cheeses like Parmesan.

Use mushrooms: Sauteed mushrooms, especially the meaty ones like shitake or Portobello work really well. Or treat yourself to some truffles?

It bears saying twice: Still not quite right? Add salt and lemon juice (thank you Tim Hanni.)

This is just the tip of the iceberg, as suggestions go. What’s your favorite trick?

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