This recipe was inspired by my visit to Tuscany and the flavors of the autumn season that were so prevalent while I was there. Searing the pork loin to lock in the juices keeps the meat moist and the rich sauce is made from caramelizing the mushrooms with garlic and sage. I like to put the garlic cloves in with the skins still on them so they sort of roast inside their case.
Every cook should know how to roast a chicken properly. The process is one of the most basic recipes and a good, roast chicken is one of my favorite things to cook and eat. The stuffing in this recipe contains a fantastic Middle-Eastern spice blend called “Za’atar” and is a combination of dried herbs like basil, thyme, oregano and also sesame seeds.
Because black pepper has its own tannins, it is sometimes considered a “wine killer.” Many times, when the tannins of the pepper hit the tannins in wine, the entire flavor becomes what we call “short in the mouth,” meaning that the flavors come to a halt and the taste becomes very astringent. The steak au poivre recipe in this segment was a particular challenge because not only is the meat rubbed with lots of black pepper, we also poured a black pepper sauce over the steak. Aldo found a Bordeaux to pair with the recipe which is interesting because this particular Bordeaux is Cabernet based which has lots of tannins. Watch this webisode of Perfect Pairings to understand why this works so well.
Perhaps the most common “wine myth” or “rule” is to always pair red meat with red wine. While that is often a nice thing to do, it is not always the rule. The point of these Perfect Pairing videos is to explore what is possible and the process of finding interesting and successful pairings. In this segment we find that some white wine characteristics, like fresh acidity with some fruit and also some mineral notes provide a lift and contrast to a heavy, red meat recipe.
Chocolate flavor can mean many different things. It can be bitter, rich, earthy, acidic and fruity—all qualities that provide various wine pairing challenges. When I was in culinary school, I was always told to drink water with chocolate but there are some very interesting wines that help enhance the chocolate flavor. In this episode, we explore two different red wines with three totally different chocolate desserts to find a perfect pairing.
This dessert is so fun to make! Cooking cans of sweetened condensed milk in boiling water is kind of like playing in a science lab. The milk cooks to a golden, delicious syrup that can be used to pour over all kinds of desserts. Because it is cooked in the can and never opened, it will keep in the pantry for a long while. Shortbread cookies are one of the easiest cookies to make and when vanilla ice cream and dulce de Leche are squeezed between, a fantastic little personal dessert is created.
A general rule of thumb has always been to move toward a sweeter wine when serving spicy food. However, not all spice or heat in a recipe comes from the same source and of course what the spice is mixed with should be considered. Scallops have a sweetness of their own and are quite a rich ingredient so it is interesting to see what he thinks is the perfect pairing for the spicy scallop recipe.
Codfish is a delicious, sturdy, white-fleshed fish. So many people only know salted cod, but codfish is very versatile and can stand up to hearty sauces and strong cooking techniques. Inspired by the Cacciucco I ate in Italy, and also by the memory of the sauces of the Basque country, where I spent some time as a child, I developed this dish using a sauce with a tomato base and red wine sauce.
I really love cooking whole fish because not only is it a good way to buy a fish (you can check the quality on a whole fish easier than on cut up fish) you can impart lots of great flavor by stuffing the cavity with herbs and lemons. This dish incorporates flavors inspired by the food of Southeast Asia.