Classic Cobb Salad /

27 down, 73 to go

Although it’s dated July 14, I actually wrote the last post a couple of months ago, and have since finished a bunch more recipes for my upcoming cookbook, 100 Perfect Pairings: Entrees to Enjoy with Wines You Love. Taking advantage of that open bottle (see the earlier post), I did a few more for the Riesling chapter – including Grilled Teriyaki Tofu and Scallions, Seafood and Andouille Sausage Jambalaya, and Cilantro-Lime Salmon over Jasmine Rice – then moved on and completed the recipes for both the Sauvignon Blanc and the Viognier chapters.

A few thoughts about Sauvignon Blanc. It’s a notoriously acidic wine. And because of that, you need a lot of acidity in the dishes you pair with it, to stand up to that acidity. It’s contrary to how things work when you’re creating a recipe – there, the more acid you put in, the more acidic the dish will taste. But when combining food and wine, if you match a wine’s acidity with an acidic food, instead of it intensifying your experience of acid, one acid kind of cancels out the other. And your overall experience is that the acid in the wine is softened, often allowing the fruit to more express itself. Strange, but true.

So, while all wine is pretty acidic – and I don’t mean that like a bad thing, just that it’s pretty bright-tasting – Sauvignon Blanc can be downright pucker-inducing. So equally bright foods pair best with it. Like salads with vinaigrette dressing. Or fish with lemon sauce. My recipes for the chapter include Smoked Trout Salad with Endive, Ricotta Salata, and Pickled Fennel; Petrale Sole with Lemon, Capers, and Croutons; and Herbed Goat Cheese-Stuffed Chicken Breasts on a Spring Herb Salad.

I’ll write about more about pairing with Viognier another time. For now, suffice to say that although it’s big and round and soft like Chardonnay can be, Viognier also tends to have a steely or mineraly quality – which can make pairing foods with it a challenge. One strategy is to keep your dishes rich and creamy, to stand up to the weight of the wine, but also bright and acidic, and to incorporate exotic, herbal, or floral notes. My recipes for the chapter include Curried Chicken and Avocado Salad, Buttermilk Oven-Fried Chicken with Garlicky Ranch Sauce, and Pork Medallions with Orange Hollandaise and Hazelnuts.

Last week, I moved on the Pinot Grigio chapter, and this week I’m hoping to finish it up. Today’s success: Classic Cobb Salad, pictured.

27 down, 73 to go.

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