Recipes To Pair with Wine

~ by Jessica Taryn Daub ~

Now in it’s 20th year, the Nantucket Wine Festival started by Denis Toner has evolved from a one-day tasting to a 5-day event that celebrates both wine and food. With tickets to the many Wine Fest events ranging from $50 to $2,975 per person, we understand that some on the island may decide to host their own private wine tastings. Here are some of our favorite recipes to pair with wines. We suggest you bring this column with you to an island wine shop and ask them to help you choose which to purchase.

ROASTED PEARS WITH GOAT CHEESE & PINE NUTS – serve with Sauvignon Blanc or Pinot Gris

  • 2 firm-ripe Bartlett pears
  • 5 oz chevre
  • 1 oz pine nuts (toasted)
  • 1 sprig rosemary (chopped)
  • 3-1/2 tsp honey
  • 2 Tbsp butter
  1. Preheat oven to 350. Toast pine nuts until just golden (lightly toasted). Wash and slice pears lengthwise into halves. With a small spoon or melon baller remove the core leaving a round dip for the filling.
  2. Heat the butter over low heat in an oven-safe skillet until it stops foaming and add the pears, skin side up till browned (about 10 min.)
  3. Put the pears in the heated oven and bake 10 to 15 min, or until soft but not mushy.
  4. While the pears are heating, combine the goat cheese with the pine nuts and rosemary in a small bowl. Season with a pinch of salt and freshly ground pepper (fine).
  5. Remove the pears from the oven and cool slightly. Fill the pears, mounding the filling on top of the indentations. Drizzle over a bit of honey and bake the pears again for another 10 min. Serve immediately. Serves 4

MUSHROOM & GRUYERE BRUSCHETTA – serve with a light red, Pinot Noir or Beaujolais

  • 1 small loaf ciabatta bread or a crusty baguette
  • 2 cloves garlic, halved
  • 2 cups cremini mushrooms
  • 1/3 pound Gruyere cheese, grated
  • 1 Tbsp sherry
  • pinch of salt
  • fresh thyme leaves
  • fresh black pepper, course grind
  1. Cut the bread in half lengthwise, so you have a large cut surface. You may not need the whole loaf. Grill the bread, cut side down on a hot grill until it starts to get char marks. Rub the cut sides of the garlic across the bread while it is still hot. Set aside.
  2. Wipe off the mushrooms with a clean cloth. Trim the tips of the stems, and then slice the mushrooms into thick slices.
  3. Heat a saute pan on medium high. Add the mushrooms and thyme leaves. Saute til the mushrooms release their moisture and are slightly browned. Add the sherry to deglaze the pan and scrape up the browned bits from the bottom of the pan. Season with salt.
  4. Spoon the mushrooms and any juice onto the bread. Top with the cheese, black pepper, and additional fresh thyme. Broil until the cheese is melted and slightly bubbly.
  5. Slice the bread into individual portions and serve right away. Serves 2

YELLOW GAZPACHO WITH LOBSTER & AVOCADO – Serve with a White Bordeaux Style

  • 1/2 pound cubes of golden watermelon
  • 2 large yellow tomatoes, cored and sliced thinly
  • 1seedless cucumber, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 1/2 yellow bell pepper, cored and thinly sliced
  • 1/4 Spanish onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 garlic cloves, smashed
  • 2 tsp red wine vinegar
  • 2 tsp Champagne vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup plus 1 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • Two 1-1/2 pound cooked lobsters, tail & claw meat coarsely chopped
  • 1 ripe avocado, thinly sliced
  • 2 tsp tarragon leaves for garnish
  • salt and freshly ground pepper
  1. DO AHEAD: Puree half of the watermelon cubes. train the watermelon juice through a fine sieve set over a large bowl. Add the remaining watermelon and the tomatoes, cucumber, bell pepper, onion, garlic, and vinegars. Add a 1/2 Tbsp of lemon juice. Season lightly with salt and pepper and refrigerate for overnight (at least 8 hours).
  2. Puree until smooth. With blender on, slowly pour in 1/4 cup of the olive oil. Strain into a bowl through a fine mesh sieve. Press on the solids to extract all the liquid. Discard solids. Season with salt and pepper.
  3. In a small bowl, toss the lobster with the remaining lemon juice and 1 Tbsp of olive oil; season with salt and pepper. Serve with lobster in the center of each soup and garnish with avocado and tarragon, serve immediately. Serves 8-10 as an appetizer.

GRILLED SALMON WITH OLIVE BUTTER AND ORZO – serve with Pinot Noir

for the olive butter:

  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • 1 small shallot, peeled
  • about 18 oil-cured olives, pitted
  • 1 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 2 tsp Dijon mustard
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper

for the salmon:

  • 6 oz orzo
  • 1 medium wild king salmon fillet cut into 4 pieces
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • small parsley sprigs, for garnish
  • 1/4 cup small olives, for garnish
  1. Olive Butter: put the garlic, shallot, olives, and parsley in a food processor and pulse until the mixture is evenly chopped. Add the butter and mustard and pulse until the mixture is smooth. Season with salt and black pepper, pulse again briefly.
  2. Transfer the butter to a sheet of parchment paper and roll into a log about 1-1/4 inches in diameter. Wrap tightly in the parchment, cover with plastic wrap. Refrigerate (will keep up to 5 days). To use, unwrap and cut into 1/4-inch slices.
  3. Salmon: Heat the grill to medium. Fill a medium saucepan half full with water, add a Tbsp of salt. Set to boil.
  4. Season the salmon fillets with salt and pepper. Grill skin side up for 8 minutes, rotating once to mark. Turn the salmon over and grill (2 to 3 minutes for a 1-inch fillet, longer if the fish is thicker) until it is just cooked through. just before removing the salmon from the grill, top each piece with a round of olive butter.
  5. When the water boils and as the salmon cooks, add the pasta, stir, and cook until just tender. Drain, transfer to a warm bowl, and toss with 2 Tbsp of olive butter. Keep warm.
  6. Divide the pasta among 4 plates and set a salmon fillet on top, skin side down. Top each piece of salmon with another round of olive butter, garnish with olives and parsley. Serves 4.

DARKEST CHOCOLATE CAKE WITH RED WINE GLAZE – Serve with sweet Muscat or Tawny 1 cup

  • Unsalted butter, cut into pieces, plus more for pan
  • 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 8 ounces bittersweet chocolate (at least 70% cacao) chopped
  • 1 cup sugar, plus more for pan
  • 4 large eggs, separated
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
    Glaze
  • 8 ounces bittersweet chocolate (at least 70% cacao) finely chipped
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 1/2 cup red wine (such as pinot noir)
  • special equipment: 8″ springform pan
  1. Preheat oven to 325F. Lightly butter and sugar cake pan. Heat chocolate, sugar and 1 cup butter in a heatproof bowl set over a saucepan of simmering water (bowl should not touch water), stirring, until chocolate is almost completely melted, about 3 minutes; remove from heat and continue to stir until chocolate is completely melted. Let cool completely.
  2. With electric mixer on medium speed, whisk the egg yolks and sugar together until the eggs are thick and pale.  Pour a little of the chocolate mixture into eggs to temper and then add the egg mixture to the chocolate and mix well.  Add the flour and the salt and mix til combined. Beat the egg whites until soft peaks form.  Add a bit to the chocolate mixture and gently fold in. Add the rest of the egg whites to the chocolate mixture.
  3. Pour batter into pan, it should go almost all the way to the top.  Place in oven and bake for about 45 minutes, check with tooth pick for doneness; if it comes out clean, it’s done. Cool completely before releasing pan.
  4. For Glaze:  Heat chocolate, butter, and salt in double boiler over simmering water (bowl should not touch water), stirring, until chocolate and butter are melted, about 5 minutes. Whisk in powdered sugar
  5. Meanwhile, bring wine just to a boil in a small saucepan.
  6. Remove chocolate mixture from heat and whisk in wine; let cool until slightly thickened and a rubber spatula leaves a trail in mixture when stirring, (8-10 minutes).
  7. Set cake on a wire rack set over rimmed baking sheet and pour glaze over cake.  Spread it across the top and over the edges with an offset spatula. Let cake stand at room temperature until glaze is set (2-3 hours).