Pairings | Cod
I’ve been a bit of a sceptic in the past about pairing food with whisky. Not that there aren’t some great combinations but I find it hard to sustain for more than one dish.
White rioja is tricky when it comes to wine pairing as it comes in such contrasting styles. There are the crisp fresh unoaked white riojas which behave much like a sauvignon blanc and much richer barrel-fermented ones which can tackle more intensely-flavoured fish and meat dishes
Salt cod, a popular Good Friday dish in parts of the Mediterranean, is cooked many different ways which suggest different wine pairings.
Last week, the Union des Grands Vins Liquoureux de Bordeaux, the body that represents Bordeaux sweet wine producers, hosted a tasting of wines from six of the appellations they represent to partner savoury and sweet dishes at a lunch at le Cercle restaurant in Chelsea.
Even after all this time we still don’t often think of champagne in the context of a meal but a brilliant Champagne Leclerc Briant dinner I went to last week at Berry Bros & Rudd underlined that we might be missing a trick.
The cookbook I've probably cooked most from this year is Sami Tamimi and Tara Wigley's fabulous Falastin which is all about the food of Sami's Palestinian childhood together with some more contemporary recipes of which this is one.
Another interesting insight on pairing red wine and fish in Tuscany this week. We were served lightly salted cod with a rich tomato and pepper stew called ciambotta at Tenuta Argentiera which proved a perfect match for the mature 2004 vintage.
Beaujolais cuisine is typical old-school bistro food - so it was no surprise to find on my recent trip that it sailed through the charcuterie, andouillette and oeufs en meurette. But I had rarely had it with fish so I found this pairing with a cod pot-au-feu at Georges Blanc’s brasserie Le Rouge et Le Blanc at the Hôtel lea Maritonnes particularly interesting.
There’s still a bit of resistance to drinking red wine with fish, let alone with a white fish like cod but last week I had the perfect dish to combine with a good red burgundy.
Like many of you, I suspect, I’ve been working my way through the older bottles in my cellar* and unearthed a 2014 vintage of Brokenwood Semillon the other day which I visited on my last wine visit to the Hunter Valley.
It’s not often you have a wine flight with a tasting menu in which every pairing is so perfectly constructed that it’s almost impossible to say which was the best. Every match at Restaurant Nathan Outlaw deserved to be a match of the week but if pushed I’m going to go for this one because it was so unexpected.
I came across this unlikely combination while I was flying back from Argentina with the Brazilian airline TAM* who have this year decided to inaugurate a Brazilian menu in business class devised by a woman chef called Ana Luisa Trajano. And quite right too.
Few these days dispute that red wine goes with fish - it’s just a question of which wine and how the fish is cooked. Most would accept ‘meaty' steak lookalikes like grilled or spiced tuna or salmon work with Pinot Noir but would hesitate to take it much further than that but last week I found a couple of surprisingly good fish matches at one of my favourite new wine bars 28-50.
Artichokes have the reputation of being a wine-killer but as with most of these diktats the problem is over-played. True, artichokes can make even dry whites taste oddly sweet but that doesn’t account for the different ways in which they are cooked and how they are served.
I’ve tasted this wine before but was reminded how absolutely delicious it is when we had a bottle at lunch at Bell’s Diner in Bristol this week. (No I don’t spend my *entire* life there despite this article in the Guardian.)
My friend cookery writer Andrea Leeman is one of the best home cooks I know with a knack of making even the simplest food taste utterly delicious.
Wine pairing is much more about the way you cook a dish and the sauce you serve with it than it is about the basic ingredient and so it proved with this week’s match at the recently opened Brackenbury.
My match of the week has to include Gladstone Pinot Noir from Wairarapa in New Zealand which featured in two unexpectedly good pairings at two different restaurants.