Thursday, December 9, 2010

Cooking Spices including Herbs and Wine Pairing

French Herb Garden
Thyme, Sage and Rosemary

Cooking spices and herbs along with food preparation techniques have a lot to do when choosing a wine to pair with a meal. I love to add Rosemary to a gravy or compound butter when cooking beef and pair the meal with Cabernet Sauvignon. My second favorite herb pairing is sage and Syrah when cooking a dish when beef is the star.

I love to have a few potted herb plants on my patio or kitchen window sill to use when I am cooking. The herbs that are pre-packaged are expensive and sometimes not so fresh; they also have a short lifespan. Also, they just require a little watering and some sunlight and you can have fresh herbs year round. My large basil plant looks as if it is dead; I left it outside and we have had some cold temperatures in Little Rock lately. I'm so glad that I have a small basil plant in my kitchen window sill. Remember to bring your plants inside when it is too hot or too cold.

Note: This was a sample provided by Victoria Taylor
I love pan seared salmon and pinot noir. When I prepare salmon, I use sea salt (I like Victoria Taylor's Trapani Sea Salt), black pepper and Victoria Taylor's Herbes de Provence

Lorrie’s Herbes de Provence Salmon
With a Caper Sauce

Yield 4 servings (Note: This recipe can be doubled or tripled)

4(6-ounce) salmon fillets
¼ teaspoon of sea salt (or to taste)
¼ teaspoons freshly ground black pepper( or to taste)
Herbes de Provence (Sprinkled on each fillet to taste)
2 tablespoons of olive oil
½ teaspoon of olive oil (to oil grill pan or skillet)
1 lemon cut in half (this is to squeeze on the cooked salmon)
to squeeze on fillets as a finish
Caper Sauce
1 cup of Mayonnaise
Juice of 1 lemon
1 teaspoon of capers (drained of brine)
4 dashes of Tabasco sauce (or more to taste)
Preheat oven to 400 degrees
Pat salmon fillet dry, then rub olive oil on each fillet then sprinkle with sea salt, freshly ground black pepper, and Herbes de Provence. Heat a grill pan or skillet with the 1 teaspoon of olive oil. Heat oil in a large non stick skillet, then sear fillets skin side up for about 3 minutes until edges turn golden and then, the other side for about 15 seconds, there should be a nice crust on the fish. Remove from skillet and place fillets in a in a baking dish, in a preheated 400 degree oven, and bake for 8 to 10 minutes. Some may like their salmon less cooked, so oven time can be shortened. Squeeze lemon juice on each fillet after they are removed from the oven.
Caper Sauce
To make the caper sauce, just combine the cup of mayonnaise, juice of one lemon, capers and Tabasco sauce, to taste.  Place in a bowl for serving.

I think that the perfect pairing would be with Davis Bynum 2008 Pinot Noir.

This wine is a lovely dark garnet color. The nose is filled with aromas of bright red fruit flavors, (cherries), a bit of dust, a hint of caramel and spice. The palate mimics the nose with a silky mouth feel. This wine paired well with a turkey rubbed with an herb infused compound butter. It would also pair well with roasted chicken, pork roast and salmon. Note: This was a sample from Rodney Strong Vineyards.

These are just a few ideas for fall and winter wine and food pairings.

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