Wine with Salmon and Fried Calamari
I am cooking a romantic valentines dinner for my girlfriend and was wondering what wines should I try with my meal. She doesn't really like dry wines, her favorites are sweet moscato and Fragolino Duchessa. I will be leaving for germany in a couple weeks and would like to know what to pick up. Here are my recipes I am going to use if it helps any. Thanks so much for the help, I am just starting learn about wines.
1 pound of fresh squid
3/4 cups of corn meal
1/4 cup of flour
salt and fresh pepper
spoon of garlic powder
1.5 inches of vegetable oil (in pan)
Cut squid into rings, strips, and curly-cues as
desired (cut above the eye.)
Mix corn meal and flour in a plastic bag. Add
salt, pepper, and garlic powder to taste and
Dry off squid and place in the bag. Shake
well and set aside.
Heat oil so that a small piece of bread will
float in it, not dissolve.
Take squid out of the bag a handful at a time
and fry for approximately 45 seconds before
removing. Dry off on paper towels and
repeat the process until the squid is all fried.
Serves 2 bipeds with lemon.
Herb Baked Salmon
vegetable oil spray
3/4 pound salmon fillet
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1/4 cup parsley, fresh, chopped
1 teaspoon oregano, dried
1/2 teaspoon thyme, dried
1/2 cup plain bread crumbs
salt and pepper to taste
1 egg white
Preheat oven to 350°. Line a baking tray with foil and spray with vegetable oil spray, Wash salmon, pat dry, and spread mustard over the top. Mix parsley, oregano, thyme and bread crumbs together. Season with salt and pepper. Blend in egg white to bind mixture together. Spread over mustard. Bake in oven for 20 to 25 minutes, depending on thickness of fillets. Remove from oven and serve on individual plates with rice.
Lemon 'n Parsley Rice
1 1/2 cups hot cooked rice
1 Tbsp finely chopped fresh parsley
2 tsp butter or margarine
1 tsp grated lemon peel
In small bowl, combine all ingredients.
Garnish, if desired, with additional chopped parsley and lemon peel.
I can't help you with food pairings, but here's an idea for you if you decide to go with the recommendation to serve Champagne.
You could mix up a special fruity, sweet syrup to serve mixed into the Champagne as a cocktail before dinner. Like pomegranite, blood orange, whatever. Then switch to straight Champagne with the meal. Then...if it appears that your GF is really not enjoying the dry Champagne, you could set the pitcher of cocktail mix on the table and let her sweeten-up her Champagne to suit.
It would be a great thing to expand her tastes, help her become more sophisticated wine-wise, etc. ...but Valentine's Day is probably bad timing for that sort of thing ;-)
The squid demands a white wine and, while your salmon could pair with a supple red (especially given the mustard), the lemony rice also argues for a white. Since the flavours in your meal incline toward the Mediterranean, a wine from Italy, southern France or Spain would be a safe bet. The problem is that most whites from those regions are dry. One exception is Alois Lageder's delicious Pinot Grigio Alto Adige, which often has a hint of residual sugar. Alternatively, since your GF likes bubblies, you could serve a Prosecco and hope she doesn't notice it isn't particularly sweet.
Among German wines, one candidate would be Muller-Catoir's fabulous Muskateller "Haardter Burgergarten". Like moscato, it's made from muscat grapes, albeit in a still, dry style. I wonder if that would be a problem for your GF, though. Maybe she just hasn't been exposed to a world-class dry white, which the Muller-Catoir most assuredly is.
I agree that a good Chardonney would be the best bet to pair with both dishes. I'd look for something that isn't too oaky. If you want something relatively inexpensive, try the 2004 Hess Collection Chardonnay Napa Valley. It should be very easy to find (they made a lot of it) and it is very good and exceptionally reasonably priced for the quality.
However, since you are going to Germany, you might want to find a nice Gewurtztraminer (but actually some of the best are now made in the US). Again, if you are looking for a good one that is relatively inexpensive, the 2004 Chateau Ste. Michelle Columbia Valley is cheap and very good.
I personally prefer Pinot Noir with salmon, but most would be too much for the preparation you have put forth. If you were planning to grill it however, PN would be the way to go, especially a nice one from the Willamette Valley.
For salmon, the two "perfect fits," are Pinot Grigio/Gris and Pinot Noir. While I am far less a fan of PG, King Estate, OR, does a wonderful "Reserve" PG. They also do a few "levels" of PN, but given your SO's predilection toward "sweeter," I'd opt for a bit more "fruit-forward" PN, say from the Santa Rita Foothills, CA, or Carneros, CA.
The calamari should pair well with either/both, though a Chard (again, considering SO's choices - a fruit-forward one), should work.
If you, or SO, like Riesling, something in the Spätlese level, should work well, also. Riesling is such a wonderful wine, when it comes to matching food and wine, that is should never be overlooked, especially if there is a touch of "heat" in the food. I see that you mention "pepper" in the recipe, but it is listed with salt, so I assume black. Is that red, or crushed black peppercorns? If it's red, then the Riesling will work well, though a fruity Chard, or the King Estate Reserve PG should handle it too.
Caveat: King Estate does three PG's, that I am aware of. One is a rather general wine, the next is their regular PG (wish I could recall the exact names of these two, but they are within a couple of $'s of each other), and then the Reserve. It is the Reserve, that I am recommending. The other two are nothing special, in my book - typical watery PG.
Let us know what you went with, and how it paired, and how it was "received."
Matching the salmon here is the key. My first choice would be chardonnay, second probably riesling. In reds, I've always found a light pinot noir to be an interesting match with salmon as well, sort of a "sleeper" in the food/wine world. You have the option of serving the chardonnay as a bubbly (i.e. champagne) as champagne should match this salmon dish quite nicely also.
Calamari is a relatively tasteless "fun food". Given the presence of garlic in the recipe, I'd go with chardonnay again here.
Since your girlfriend likes moscato, an option might be to serve a moscato d'asti as bubbly alongside a glass of either chardonnay or pinot noir, and just keep the two glasses throughout the meal.
One "hint" in the salmon preparation, chardonnay loves both grilling and smoke. So, you might grill the salmon and toss in a handful of wood chips on the coals to give a smoky edge to the fish. Served with chardonnay this would be very sublime.