Monday, October 7, 2013

A Quick Pairing: Wine and Fried Chicken

These days, we have a little less time to spend in the kitchen. It's useful to remember that we don't need to over-think our wine and food pairing choices: a few carefully selected ingredients can define a meal, and flexible wines give you a lot of latitude.

With the release of the 2012 vintage of Finger Lakes Rieslings, we had a few bottles of wine and we basically knew what to expect out of them. Sweet peaches, minerality, apple... these are flavors we know. So for a quick mid-week dinner, it was simply a matter of finding the meal to go with those flavors. I quickly sautéed some fresh fall bok choy with onion and jalapeno, to combine sweetness and heat, then added rice for a base and fresh chopped arugula for texture. The fried chicken was there for the minerality. Although there was a bit of prep time in the chopping and breading, and rice takes as long as rice takes, this was a quick and easy dish, all told.

Paired with the new 2012 Dry Riesling for Knapp Vineyards, we ended up with a great meal. The wine was sweeter and fruitier than we expected from a dry Riesling, but not overpoweringly so. The sweet flavors worked well with the spice of the jalapeno, and the flavors were bright and crisp against the fried chicken. With life as complicated as it is, it's useful to have a repetoire of quick recipes and and a library of wines you are confident in to make even a quick dinner after a long day an enjoyable experience.

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