Fishy Pairings

March 3rd, 2009 by Jeff

Featured in today’s show:

Recommended food pairings from The Som:

  • We started off the show talking about Bovee’s pairing of stuffed mushrooms with a Sauvignon Blanc.   I was going to give you that recipe, but found a similar one that I think would take you to the next, more delectable level.   This recipe replaces the dubious artichoke with LOBSTER!   I’m already planning to make this one later in the week.
  • This would be the perfect trout recipe to match with a Spanish Albarino.  Light, herby and grilled.  Exactly as they would serve it NW Spain.  Medium bodied, complimentary flavors, and just enough acidity and fresh fruit notes from the wine to cut through the smokiness of the grilled fish.   I cannot wait till spring!
  • As we discussed in the show, a New England Clam Chowder should pair well with an oaked chardonnay.  Why?  Lets break it down.  Clam Chowder is full bodied, heavy (potentially), creamy and, if you think about it, not really about intense flavors.  I mention that because, as you may notice in the show, the spice of the barrel aged chardonnay actually adds flavor to the chowder.   One of the first rules of wine pairing is matching the “weight” of the dish to the “weight” of the wine.  A fuller bodied dish asks for a fuller bodied wine or the wine just gets lost.   A dish that is cream based asks for a wine that has enough acidity to cleanse the palette of all that cream and prepare it for the next bite.   “Hello well made Chardonnay!”  Now, there are a few other wines that fit that bill, but today is about the Benziger Chardonnay.  Here is a lighter take on New England Clam Chowder that I have made which works VERY well with something like the Benziger.  Let me know how you like it.

New England Clam Chowder Recipe ala Jeff  (Serves 4)

  • 1 cup clam juice
  • 48 topneck clams, well scrubbed
  • 3oz bacon, diced
  • 1 cup onion, chopped
  • 2 lrg potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch dice
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 teaspoons fresh thyme, chopped
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 cup light cream
  • Salt & pepper to taste
  1. Place the clam juice in a large pot over medium-high heat.  Add the clams and cover.  Stir after 5 minutes, then again after 10 minutes, watching for any calms that open.  Using a slotted spoon, move clams to a large bowl as soon as they open.  Remove the meat from the shells, and set the meat aside.  Strain the clam cooking liquid through a colander lined with 2 layers of cheesecloth (look at a fabric store).
  2. Meanwhile, in a heavy-bottomed soup pot, cook the bacon for 5 minutes over moderate heat until lightly browned.  Add the onion, and cook another 5 minutes until soft and translucent.
  3. Add the cooking liquid, potatoes, bay leaf and thyme to the bacon and onion.  Bring to a boil and simmer until the potatoes are tender….again, about another 5 minutes.  Meanwhile, coarsely chop the clams.
  4. Add the milk, cream and clams to the pot.  Bring to a simmer.  Season, and ladle chowder into soup bowls.  Serve with bread and crackers on the side.

One Response to “Fishy Pairings”

  1. Erik Wait Says:

    FYI, “Fish on Fridays” was mandated as a church discipline (not church dogma) when beef was considered a luxury. So Roman Catholics would give up this luxury in memory of the day Christ died (Friday) as a form of sacrifice in commemoration of His self sacrifice. But, once beef became common and inexpensive, thus no longer a luxury, the “Fish on Fridays” no longer made any sense. This is why it is no longer required since Second Vatican Council of 1965. Now, Catholics are called to choose to give up Friday whatever may be considered a luxury to them.

    BTW, once of the chief characteristic of Sauvignon Blanc is its chalky minerality that can remind you of a clam shell… which is another reason why it paris so well with fish!

    I hope you guys bring this show back!


    Erik Wait
    California Wine Tasting Adventures

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