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Mar 22, 2010 10:22 AM

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:
        - 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.