Blog entry

White after Labor Day ?

Absolutely! Especially when it comes to rich white wines like Chardonnay, Viognier and Roussane. As a fan of white wines, I especially enjoy crisp whites like Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Grigio with the lighter fare of the summer.

The fall weather suggests more red wine and food pairings, yet I don’t despair because of what the amazing array of whites can offer. These structured whites have complex flavor profiles that include apple, pear and even some “creaminess” when aged in oak. Perfect for fall dishes, right?

Although Chardonnay has long been considered a rich white, you may want to give Viognier or Roussane a try. Viognier’s popularity has reached cult status and can be found along with Roussane at several Lake County wineries. Both pair well with fall salads containing nuts, orchard fruit and cheese. These opulent varietals go well with cream sauces. Roasted fowl and pork dishes with slow cooked white beans or risotto are fabulous and the acidity found in these whites cuts through the richness quite well. Because nut flavors go so well with oaked, white wines,

I like to pair them with nut crusted fish or poultry dishes. If you have a favorite fish or poultry dish, try preparing it with a nut crust. Nut crusts are easy to prepare and work really well with my favorite oaked, rich white wines. If you don’t already have a favorite nut crusted dish, the almond crusted salmon recipe below should pair quite nicely.

                                Almond Crusted Salmon

                                                                                                        Serves 4

                   1 cup Pesto – store bought or home made
                   1 teaspoon lemon zest
                   1 cup toasted almonds, sliced
                   4 salmon filets (8oz.), skinned, 3/4 inch thick 
                   Salt & fresh ground pepper

Heat oven to 400F. Salt & Pepper salmon filets. Brush filets on one side with 1/4th of pesto. Mix lemon zest and almonds in bowl. Transfer almond mixture to pie plate. Place pesto side into almond mixture to crust. Heat sauté pan to medium-high on stove top that is large enough to hold salmon without overcrowding pan. Add canola oil to coat pan and watch for ripples (visual reference that pan is hot enough).

Add salmon, almond crust down and cook for 2-3 minutes to brown crusts. Remove carefully and place on rack over sheet pan (cookie sheet). Bake in oven for 8-10 minutes. Salmon should be pink and flake gently. Serve with herb rice pilaf, fall salad with cheese and nuts. Pair with any of the rich whites for a great pairing.

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