Cooking with wine- Balance the flavours to create a synergy of tastes

Cooking with wine means more than a splash of red wine in your spaghetti sauce.

Not that there’s anything wrong with merlot in the marinara — especially if you’ll be drinking it with dinner — but there’s more to cooking with wine than pairing red sauce with red wine.

The wine that is used in the recipe should, ideally, be the one that is served with the course of food but first, consider the aroma of a dish. “The flavour of the wine should complement the aromas of the food.”

There should be a balance between the flavours of the food and the wine in order to create a synergy of tastes and aromas.

Debra Gordon, co-author with her husband, Keith Gordon, of the new book “Wine on Tuesdays” , notes that ‘“the key to cooking with wines is that you do want to bring it to a boil to burn the alcohol off” and impart a depth of flavor.

She’s not picky about the wine she uses, as long as the color and flavor make sense for the dish. “If I’m making a white sauce, I’ll use a white wine,” she says; for a butter sauce she’ll use a buttery chardonnay and a sauvignon blanc or an unoaked chardonnay for fish. She’ll use reds not only for hearty meats, but also for roast chicken — to deglaze the pan and make a sauce from the drippings.

One thing is a no-no: Never ever use cooking wine. It’s full of salt and preservatives. “It’s awful,” Gordon says.

But if a recipe calls for a specific wine, use it. “There’s a reason they’re calling for those types of wine,” Gordon says, particularly when the wine defines the dish, as it does with a marsala or madeira. Also, don’t underestimate what a wine’s acidity can do for a dish.

Acid will make your food come alive and that’s particularly important to remember when a recipe calls for a specific wine, such as a dry white. Dry white wines are the highest in acid level, so that recipe wants the acid to help with the overall taste of the dish.

From: The Wine and Food Blog

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