Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Cooking With Wine

We live in a nation of laws, rules, dicta, and things you are supposed to do. Most of them, should not be followed. But one thing you should never turn down is an opportunity to sample wines and give your ideas and opinions on them. Which is why you find yourself reading something different on this Wednesday. So from now on every other week, in lieu of Winesday, we will look at wines through the lens of cooking at home. 

I often find myself shopping for wines and using the expression, "Give me a nice Tuesday night wine." The wine should be something interesting that won't break the bank, that I can open while I cook, enjoy it while we eat, and finish it on the couch. Welcome to Cooking With Wine.

Mad Max is supplying us with some wines and his first offering is a 2009 Pinot Grigio from TuTu. The winemaker is Rob Lawson who strives to produce a bright clean Pinot Grigio loaded with ripe stone fruit flavors, think apricot and nectarine, not strawberries following the Grateful Dead in a VW bus. You can find it at Houstons, Red Fish Grill, W.I.N.O., Calandro's in Baton Rouge, Cork & Bottle, and Royal Palm.

Pinot Grigio is a wine I always associate with Italian fare, but seeing as how this wine is made in Caliifornia, I thought about doing some cross-cultural cooking with a touch of farm freshness (California) and something spicy (Italian). When I tasted the wine, it had some weight in the finish, meaning it tended to stick around, which made it fodder for something substantial. Here is the result.

Grilled Italian Sausages and Creole Tomato Salad

Grill sausages. Don't overcook them. See that was simple.

It is likely either you or someone you know has a heap of basil that is threatening to take over their yard. What I want you to do is take about 2 big handfuls of basil and blanch them in soft salted water for about thirty seconds. Then drop it into an ice bath. Once cold, drain and squeeze all the water out of it. You should have a ball of green cold leaves. Cut about half of them into a blender. Pour in a cup of olive oil and blend for a minute. After a minute, cut the rest of the leaves into the blender and blend for about two minutes more. Let this mixture "steep" overnight then strain thru a coffee filter set over a fine mesh strainer. This will take a while, so go read War and Peace.

Slice creole tomatoes, season with salt and pepper, drizzle on basil oil, and top with lumps of soft goat cheese. With the fattiness and spice of the Italian sausages, and the juiciness and sweetness of the tomatoes, the acidity and mineral of this Pinot Grigio perfectly cleaned the palate, without getting in the way. Mad Max says he likes it with fresh summer pastas, spicy Asian cuisine, crisp salads, or just to avoid your in-laws while you twirl in bliss.


Meghan said...

No picture of the wine bottle? Sad day.

Rene said...

Remember, Peter is out of town. He normally takes care of those things. But if you go to this thing called Googoool (sp?), click images, and type in Tutu Pinot Grigio (shoot it will even auto finish it for you), there are thousands of pictures of the wine in bikinis and stuff.

Pontchartrain Pete said...

Rene, I couldn't pass up on snarkily translating your comment.

Meghan said...

I think I found your missing salt.

Rene said...


That is up there for comment of the year! But you were right, and you may notice there is now a pretty picture.

Meghan said...

You are welcome for improving your website.


fmcgmccllc said...

Price range would be nice.

Rene said...

It sells for around $14/15 a bottle.