During a discussion about how to cook with wine, I heard an Italian once say –
“If you use poor ingredients in your cooking, you’ll eat a poor tasting meal. What you put into your dish, is what you can expect to come out of it.”
Ah, the simple logic which rings so true to the taste bud! Contrary to popular belief, cooking with pricey wine is NOT at all a sin. It is in instead the perfect way to elevate your dish and enhance its already existing flavors.
I mean, think about it – we love drinking wine so why not eat wine? If used with discretion, wine can make plenty of ordinary dishes become something extraordinary. But the question is – what is the proper way of cooking with wine?
The answer is simple – match quality with quality. Wine is an ingredient just like any other ingredient. You wouldn’t want to use cheap fish or meat for your Sunday lunch with guests, so why use a cheap ingredient as important and flavorful as wine? So, bottom line is – cook with any wine that you would actually drink.
A Few Tips About Cooking with Wine
– Forgo butter for wine & oil and sauté your fresh veggies! A bit of white wine and zucchini and you’ve got a recipe for success.
– Use instead of/in addition to water in stovetop cooking. If you’re making a rice or veggie dish in under 30 minutes, simmer your dish with wine and water to add a bit more oomph to your dish.
– Use to marinate your meats. The more acidic the wine, the better it is at tenderizing meats and poultry. And as an extra added bonus – you get flavor too.
– Use it with fish! If you’re making a mussel soup or poaching fish in a saucepan, add wine! It is the perfect injection of moisture and flavor all in one.
White & Red Flavor Profiles
Pair like flavors with like flavors, so when choosing which wine to cook with, keep these basics in mind.
When using a white wine, expect to enhance the following flavors: apple, citrus, mineral flavors, vanilla and melon
When using red wine, expect to enhance the following flavors: cherry, chocolate, plum, orange and deep fruit flavors.