Ever since we re-visited Sequoia Grove, where we are wine club members, I’ve been thinking about concentrating more on the pairing of our wine with the dishes. During our visit, Sr. Wine Educatior, Dean Busquaert lead a 90-minute sit down illustration of how various taste sensations from food influence the flavor of Cabernet Sauvignon. Although we’ve had the opportunity to sit through it before, I’ve found that it has forever changed my perception of food and wine pairing.
I’ve also wanted to improve my “sauce’s” for dishes, because sometimes I feel like it’s just too plain! Similar to things I learned from Dean, I’ve been reading in my new book (The Flavor Bible); a gift from my friend Laura! There are really four commonly recognized tastes that you can manipulate in your cooking: sweet, salty, sour and bitter. The goal when cooking is to achieve a balance between these tastes. From time to time, we all make mistakes and create over-seasoned dishes. When this happens, it is likely that of these flavors dominate; fixing this problem is achieved through the adjustment of the other three flavors. You can learn which ingredients can be used to adjust each taste by using some basic ingredients to alter the flavors in your food; it’s helpful to keep these ingredients on hand at all times.
I used this sauce to balance the heat of some lamb chops that turned out a bit too spicy with it’s sweetness. I had been a little heavy-handed with hot peppers and added some sugar to the dish to correct the problem. (If your dish is still too spicy, serve it alongside a dairy product as dairy complements spicy foods nicely)
2 Yellow/Red Bell Peppers, charred, seeded and coarsely chopped
1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
1 Tablespoon Butter
1/4 Cup Shallots, finely chopped
3/4 Cup Dry White Wine
1/4 Cups Heavy Cream
1 Tablespoon Rice Wine Vinegar
6 Garlic Cloves, roasted
2 Tablespoons Rosemary, fresh chopped
Pinch of Saffron Threads
1 Tablespoon Pure Maple Syrup
Salt and Pepper, freshly ground
Start by “roasting” the peppers. I choose the easy route and do them directly on the burner.
Wash the peppers and turn the burner on high heat. Place the peppers directly over flames. Turn the peppers frequently distributing heat to all sides. Continue cooking the pepper so it blackens on all sides.
Place the blackened peppers into a bowl and cover with plastic wrap, letting them steam for ten to 15 minutes. Peel off the blackened layer, using your fingers, a paring knife and/or a paper towel; it should fall off easily. Cut the peppers and discard the seeds and membrane.
Saute the shallots, garlic and chopped rosemary in the oil until the onions become translucent. Add the vinegar, white wine and the saffron. Bring to a boil and cook down by half.
Add the cream and bring to a boil. Cook, stirring often with a wire whisk, about 10 minutes.
- Stir in the peppers and butter. Taste and season with salt & pepper.
- Pour the mixture into an electric blender and blend as thoroughly as possible. Scrape the puree back into the saucepan and cook for another five minutes, stirring often.
We enjoyed this with pistachio crusted walley and fried potatoes. Along with 2008 Sauvignon Blanc from Solovino, Napa Valley!