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Pairing advice for this odd salad

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This salad is really interesting. Nicely balanced flavors, not nearly as acidic as you would think with the cukes and the vinegar. Flavor is very slightly sweet, but very fresh.

Here is the recipe.
Cucumber, tomato, small bit of onion. Salted and water sweated out.

Vanilla dressing:
1/2 cup white balsamic vinegar (you can substitute malt or cider vinegar, but do not use brown balsamic)
1/2 tablespoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
Pinch of kosher salt
Pinch of freshly ground pepper

Melon vinaigrette:
1/4 cup cantaloupe juice
6 tablespoons watermelon juice
Pinch of kosher salt
Pinch of freshly ground pepper
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup cottage cheese
1/2 tablespoon finely sliced basil leaves

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  1. Maybe an off-dry Mosel riesling? I'm not sure I'd want wine with that dish.

    1. Husch 2005 Gewurztraminer might be a good match too.


      1. Forced against my better judgment to pour a wine, I'd probably choose a Marsanne from the south of France or California, maybe one that saw some oak (to echo the vanilla).

        1. The Question for me is what flavors dominate ?

          If this is primarily a TOMATO salad with vinegar dressing then that says Sauvignon Blanc pretty clearly...

          If it's a true "melding" of these flavors, with strong presence of Vanilla and Melon, then that leans more to a sweeter Riesling or a sweet sherry. If it's "heavy on the Melon" then you could also look at a Moscato d'Asti here...

          REGARDLESS... I notice the recipe contains cottage cheese so why not add some cheese that REALLY MATCHES THE WINE!! That way you can adjust the dish to really pair nicely with your choice of wine.

          If you go with Sauvignon Blanc, then add some Chevre(best), Gruyere. Tomme Basco, or "real" Provolone to the dish.

          If you go with a Riesling, add some Emmental, the very best cheese match for riesling, IMO.

          1. the melons make me think champagne. as an aside, i think i'd prefer scallions or shallots, rather than onions.

            1. Not a very food friendly item. Drink something you enjoy by itself and save the apiring for the entree.

              1. I was thinking of trying it with a blended table wine that has riesling and moscato. ( Menage a trois.) I'm gonna demo it with that and the oaky chard. I think that most of my rieslings in my cellar are either too dry or too sweet for this but an alsatian was a thought. I also thought about a california SB or as a stretch maybe a soave?? I'll report back after the demo tomorrow

                To clarify the flavors are really melded nicely. The melon pops a bit, but not overpowering. Maybe I noticed it more because it is a bit unusual. The vanilla is pretty subdued maybe because of the acid balancing it.

                BTW, the recipe is from Jiko at the Animal Lodge Resort, Walt Disney World. I recommend the place highly. Be warned...it is disney so you may find the dining room has (dramatic pause) lots of kids.

                1 Reply
                1. re: chrisinroch

                  Folie a Deux? That would be a sensible match.

                  Oaky chard, no way.