Know the science behind food and wine
“This aged like a fine wine.”
How many times have you heard this before? If not anything else, this phrase for sure has aged like a fine wine.
But hold on for a moment, why are we talking about wines here? Because as a catalyst, a glass of fine wine with your dining experience will take it on a whole new level. After all, as Julia Child said, “Wine is meant to be with food—that’s the point of it!”
Let me take you through the step by step guide of fine wine and dine, starting with:
Why do people cook their food with wine?
1. Smell the Aroma.
The human nose is one of the finest sensory organs. It works in sync with taste buds to give that unique flavour by blending in chemicals and shooting it up to your brain. When your dish has few dominant flavours, it’s a great idea to mix it with the wines that share those same basic characteristics. Not only will it enhance your flavour, but it will also give a unique blend of aromas, sending yummy signals up the brains of your customers.
Pinot Noir, particularly Pinot Noir from Burgundy, is known for having flavours and aromas of mushrooms; it pairs nicely with sautéed veggies and of course mushrooms. A bright dish with a finishing splash of lemon juice might respond well to a wine with a nice, bright citrus flavour – like Sauvignon Blanc. A cream sauce with shrimp will likely match up well with a creamy, buttery Chardonnay.
2. Bring out the flavours.
We use wine to add a hint of acidic flavor to food, which brings out the other flavors. All of it combined acts like a well-rehearsed ballet recital of flavors.
When you know how to use fine wine for cooking, you’ll reach out for it like lemon juice or vinegar. But you should live by a rule which goes like “If not fit for drinking, it’s not fit for cooking.” A very common mistake I’ve noticed is people treat cooking wine as a secondary ingredient, something to stop the waste. Wine might not be quite popular, but it’s a whole ingredient in itself. I urge you to treat it like one.
Where to use what wines?
Use dry white wines with higher acidity.
One of the most critical boons that cooking with wine brings is its acidity, which enhances flavors. Using a wine that doesn’t get that to the table is a waste of wine. White wines are the glue for chefs who know their way around wine cooking; with its varsity, you can use it to deglaze the brown bits for a pan sauce for sautéed fish, chicken, pork, or mushrooms.
Some Wine suggestions: Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Grigio, Pinot Gris, Pinot Blanc, Sémillon, and dry sparkling wines are excellent because of their intense citrus flavours.
When to add the wine?
1. For stews and sauces
After you’ve browned the meat and vegetables for stews, or long-boiling tomato sauces, add wine early in the boiling stage. Let the wine reduce a bit, and then add the other liquids. Some cooks add a small dash of red wine near the end of cooking to deepen a slow-boil tomato ragù, but only if the wine is top-notch.
2. For marinades
Add the wine with all the other marinade ingredients. The marinade can also be used as the base for a sauce. Make sure the sauce is brought to a boil and cooked down thoroughly. And voila then cook the marinated food and get the best taste of wine paired with herbs and garlic.
We’ve come to an extended end by now, but before we go, just a small tip I’d like to share with you. Never buy the “cooking wines” that you see on the shelves of supermarkets. They contain salt and taste horrible. Do yourself and your customers a favor and cook the wine you’d actually drink.
Well, I am sure that’s a little heavy information put all together. Pour yourself a glass of wine and pair it up with some snacks for a win(e)d down. If you don’t know what to pair your wine with, keep an eye on us. Soon we will be telling you in our next blog only on Petpooja!