The Aborigines of Western Australia live their life by the law of the land. They respect nature and its bounty as they forage and hunt sustainably and have a deep connection to the Earth.
Salads can be composed with so many different elements. The greens can be a challenge to pair with wine on their own because of strong, chlorophyll elements that exist in the leaves. When you take that green base and then pile on all kinds of vegetables, fruit, nuts and vinegar dressing, it becomes even more difficult to find the right pairing. In this segment, Aldo and I compare two different white wines against a very complicated but tasty salad.
For some reason, our inclination is to always pair white wine with pasta. The pasta itself—the actual flour, egg and water mixture—is what provides the “base” and as I learned when I made pasta in Italy, really good pasta should be the star and the sauce then compliments it. For this experiment, Aldo challenges me to taste the same red wine with four different pasta sauces—same noodles, different sauces. The result is surprising and compelling.
This recipe uses fresh vegetables to create a satisfying vegetarian dish full of flavor. The cauliflower cous cous is a light, healthy alternative especially for people with gluten sensitivity. The argon oil is great way to add richness and flavor to the vegetables without adding fat. Use the freshest, brightest vegetables available at the local markets to make the dish really stand out.
White beans cooked in chicken stock with a little bit of the country ham from Virginia, provides a hearty flavor base to build upon. Carrots and onions add depth and some sweetness. Green beans and zucchini provide fresh, vegetal profiles and tomatoes add acidity. These are the basics of a well-balanced dish. An easy and fresh pesto, made just before serving and stirred into the soup adds a very bright addition that really livens up the entire recipe.
Softshell crabs are a very special treat when they are in season and the very fresh crabs, still filled with salty water from the river, need little else but a simple dredging of flour before they are fried very quickly in a cast iron skillet. Only a squeeze of lemon juice is needed to highlight the “star of the plate.”
This installation of Perfect Pairings was born out of my love of wine from the Bordeaux region of France. If I had to pick one wine to drink for the rest of my life, it would be red Bordeaux. I grew up near the region and developed my palate on Bordeaux. Aldo Sohm, the wine director at Le Bernardin knows this about me so we decided to put the Bordeaux up against four completely different foods—raw oysters, Camembert cheese, lobster salad and pecan pie. Watch as we test my theory that “Bordeaux Goes with Everything” with these diverse flavors.