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Need Pinot Noir Pairing, STAT!

I'm designing a course for light Oregon Pinot Noir, coming after a pinot gris with scallops, and before a syrah with a pork dish. Some guests don't care for duck, so that's out. I tried a salmon pairing and it was wrong. The sweetness of the salmon was not a good match for the wine. I need a dish for this spot on the menu. Perhaps an ahi? Maybe a chicken dish? Got any great pinot noir pairings that would fit this slot? It has to make this wine SHINE! Thanks!

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  1. Doing dishes with earthy mushrooms often goes well with Pinot Noir. Maybe a fish with mushroom sauce or even a pasta (tortellini?).

    1. creamy mushroom soup or other soup that's rich and smooth. Or a fish (halibut?) served on green lentils and bacon, maybe a few beets or carrots.

      1. - Roast a mixture of "wild" mushrooms as described here: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/5251...
        - In a saucepan, combine veal or duck demi-glace with some of the mushroom roasting juices. Simmer and reduce until thick enough to coat a spoon.
        - Lightly brush a piece of sushi-grade ahi loin with olive oil. Press some crushed peppercorns (black, white or grains of paradise) into it. Sear briefly in olive oil (the tuna should be raw in the centre). Cut into slices.
        - For each serving, pile some of the mushrooms onto a plate. Lay some tuna slices on top so they're overlapping. Drizzle demi-glace sauce around the mushrooms and onto the tuna. Scatter chopped chives over all.

        Adapted from a Charlie Trotter recipe. Works beautifully with a supple Pinot Noir.

        3 Replies
        1. re: carswell

          Look at this post in terms of intensity of flavor, simplicity in execution, and the deceiving amount of elegance.

          This could be an extremely small course, almost a tapas plate/small plate -- and served just after a small howdy-do appetizer/cheese course -- a transition from Pinot Noir Champagne-ness to the light Pinot Noir indicated in your post.

          I don't know what others think, and -- perhaps it's just the bohemienne in me -- but I'd like to try the light Oregon Pinot Noir and also an aged [PInot Noir-based] Rosé Champagne with this dish. I've found aged Rosé Champages usually meld beautifully with wild mushrooms. I love, love, the Oregon PN Reserves so I'd like to try them as well. I actually suspect this dish has a certain invincibility, so to speak, to pair with with Pinot across the board, and it would sure would be fun to have the experience of experimenting what went well with it.

          To help get the show on the road, find duck demi-glace or veal demi-glace in the frozen food section of your gourmet grocery store or fresh from your butcher (call first). Buy the best wild mushrooms you can -- all you need are a few ounces so don't be daunted at the price per pound/kilo. Before searing in a hot hot pan, have your sushi-grade tuna coated with your "crust" stuff. Currently, I grind whole coriander, a few white peppercorns, lemon zest, pistachios and and porcini together (though I always improvise) into a coarse powder to make a crust using a dedicated coffee grinder just for this sort of thing. Then I schmoosh (this is culinary term) the tuna into the grindings so they adhere. Let the tuna rest after searing to obtain ultimate juiciness, take care to cut arty slices, then fan per carswell, etc. etc. etc.

          I hate to sound like a goof but this really deserves an elegant serving dish -- something small, for each person, that showcases the elegance and specialness of the dish. A parade of Pinots in varying intensity in an arch across the top of the plate, heaven.

          1. re: maria lorraine

            Have trouble imagining pink champers not working, maria. Will have to give it a shot. The grains-of-paradise version paired nicely with a Frappato at a recent all-Occhipinti dinner. Powerful whites like Hermitage and Châteauneuf-du-Pape are another viable option with this dish.

            And, yes, definitely save time by using store-bought demi-glace.

          2. Monkfish filets wrapped in bacon, wild mushroom risotto, roasted wild mushrooms

            1 Reply
            1. re: whiner

              Whiner - Monkfish? Do you have the super secret prep that makes this often-disappointing fish something magical?

            2. Not long ago I prepared a really interesting Persian dish called fesenjan (out of pure curiosity as it seemed like such an unlikely way to prepare poultry). Basically it involves stewing chicken or duck pieces in a pomegranate juice and ground walnuts, along with a few other ingredients such as molasses and cinnamon.

              While I added the ingredients I pondered on what sort of wine would work well with this. I kept coming back to pinot noir. So many of the flavors seemed to draw parallels with pinot characteristics, particularly Burgundian pinots. Bright fruitiness the pomegranate, earthiness in the walnuts and molasses, delicate and aromatic spice in cinnamon. Much like pinot noir wines, the dish was at once rich and delicate. I think it would be a perfect match.

              Then again – the ahi dish sounds pretty awesome too. And probably fits in better with the style of your evening anyway.

              1. I don't think it neccessary to serve a protein for this course. A classic pairing is Croute-aux-Morilles (Morels on toast). I believe morels are just coming into season in your neck of the woods.

                750 g of Morels (approximately 1 1/2 lbs)
                2 shallots chopped
                1 1/2 cups heavy Cream (more if needed)
                salt and pepper to taste
                Sliced white bread
                Serves 6 as a small course

                1. Cut the ends of the mushrooms. Do not cut too much. I also cut them in half to be able to clean them well. Morels tend to be sandy.

                2. Melt the butter and wait until it is nice and hot. Add the mushrooms. Cook at medium hot. until the morels begin to brown.

                3. Add the shallots and Salt and Pepper. Cook until the shallots begin to soften and add the cream.

                4. Let it cook a low to medium heat until the cream has reduced. Keep stirring every so often.

                5. When your sauce is a nice thick consistency serve over high quality white toasted bread. You can use a toaster, but the more traditional method is to saute the bread in butter until golden.

                1 Reply
                1. re: Vinny Barbaresco

                  Vinny, you got it. Even before I came to your post I was thinking "Morels!" Perfect pairing, IMHO. At Portland Farmers' Mkt this past Saturday several vendors had them. We made morel risotto with shallots, fresh thyme, dried porcini powder, garlic, and leek, all from the market, plus a little sake. With Beran Estate OR PN 2007. An evening to remember...

                  Have fun Kate. Please report.


                2. Had some Ahi tempura for an app Sunday evening. Had a very night lighter Oregon Pinot Noir. Paired very nicely with the Ahi, also with the veal I had after that.

                  Cheers from Oregon!

                  1. You've got a nice night planned.

                    I say spring mushroom soup, based on cheap fresh ones and dried porcini. Topped with a few black trumpets and some herbs.

                    Another suggesiton - if you haven't done many of these wine-paired dinners, restraint on portions and wines is a good thing. Then have lots of extra for the gluttons. Like me.

                    1. These are all looking great and I appreciate your input. I'm leaning towards ahi but I need another spicing than pepper because the next course features it. Morels are later here. I'll check the growers market tomorrow, but I don't expect to find them yet. Something ahi, something mushrooms. I'm working on it. This is for the Foris Maple Ranch Pinot Noir 2006. -Kate