California Wine Fair Fare (April 4, 2002)
California Wine Fair, here it comes, and not a moment too soon!
Each year in April, sunshine-starved and winter-weary Canadians
are treated to the best of the California wineries when they come
to our cities proudly showing off their award-winning products.
Of course they're wonderful; California is known for its unique
combination of ideal growing conditions plus dedicated vintners
and winemakers who together create some of the finest wines in the
At the Fair, you'll sample more than 250 premium wines from 70
Golden State wineries that continue to make their mark on the international
wine scene and garner attention throughout the world! Beginning
in Toronto April 10, the California Wine Fair moves on to Ottawa
April 11, Montreal April 15, Quebec City April 17, and finishes
in Halifax April 19.
Can't get to these cities? Well, treat yourself to a Festival of
California Weekend on April 12–14 at the Chateau Montebello
resort in Quebec, surely the world's most glamorous log building!
These are easily the wine events of the year that you won't want
to miss, but hey, if you just simply can't get there, all is not
lost. Read on... here's how to do your own California celebration!
A gorgeous new publication, Dean & DeLuca: The Food &
Wine Cookbook, is just out, and anyone passionate about eating
well with good wine to match simply must have this book.
Joel Dean and Georgio DeLuca know what they're talking about. They
opened their eponymous food and wine emporium in New York City's
bustling downtown SoHo in 1977 and the store soon became a destination
for passionate food-savvy people in search of the freshest and best
foods, ingredients and kitchenware from around the world. Timing
was perfect, for the food revolution was on, and within a few years
Dean & DeLuca expanded westward, finally opening a wine-country
store in the Napa Valley town of St. Helena.
It goes without saying that one of the world's great purveyors
of all things kitchen would produce a cookbook to match. The photography
and recipes are glorious, and the food is seamlessly matched with
two or more California varietal wines. We loved reading the recipes
and moaning with anticipated pleasure, and trust us, the cooking
and eating is even better! California, here we come.
On today's menu:
Download these recipes in printable
form as an Acrobat PDF (159 KB)
Bresaola-Wrapped Arugula with Saffron Aioli
||It's so simple, and so perfect. Best of all,
it's fast and it's pretty! This great little starter features
Bresaola, the smoky sweet air-dried beef, teamed with sharp
crisp Arugula. Top it all with a saffron aioli for absolute
Makes 12 bundles, serves 4 as an appetizer
48 arugula leaves
1 Tbsp Virgin olive oil
12 paper-thin slices bresaola or prosciutto
I would go white with this dish because of the saltiness
of the air-dried beef and the bitterness of arugula. Choose
a medium-bodied dry white. An oaked-aged Inama Soave would
be perfect, or a New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc or Ontario
Put the arugula in a small bowl and drizzle with the olive oil.
Toss gently. Lay the slices of bresaola or prosciutto on a work
surface. Layer 4 arugula leaves on top of each slice and roll.
To serve as a passed hors d'oeuvre, place the rolls on a serving
plate, seam side down, with a bowl of the aioli in the center. For
a first course, divide the rolls among 4 plates with a dollop of
aioli on the side.
Called aioli after the French ail, or garlic, this delicious
sauce is ubiquitous in Mediterranean countries with dishes ranging
from seafood stews to meats. The golden saffron variation is even
more seductive than the plain. You're going to love this! Best if
made one day in advance.
2 egg yolks at room temperature
1 Tbsp Dijon mustard
Salt to taste
1 cup extra-virgin olive oil
½ cup canola oil
2 pinches saffron threads
1 clove garlic, minced
In a medium bowl, combine the yolks, mustard and salt and whisk
to blend. Gradually whisk in 2/3 of the oil; add the saffron threads
and continue adding remaining oil to make an emulsified sauce. Or
pulse the yolks, mustard and salt in a food processor. With the
machine running, add 2/3 of the oil in a fine stream; add the saffron
threads and continue adding remaining oil. Stir in garlic.
Use immediately, or cover and store in the refrigerator for up
to two days.
(We find Hellmann's mayonnaise is the perfect base if you don't
want to make your own.)
Baked Brie with Curried California Walnuts
||Oh, this is so decadant and wonderful. The rich,
nutty flavour of the walnuts complements the velvety texture
of the Brie. Serve with crackers and fruit like crisp apples
1 Tbsp olive oil (15 mL)
1 Tbsp butter (15 mL)
1/2 tsp curry powder (2 mL)
1/3 cup diced red pepper (75 mL)
2 Tbsp finely chopped green onion (30 mL)
1 cup coarsely chopped California Walnuts (250 mL)
2 round Brie cheese (125 g each)
Salt and pepper
The curried element demands some sweetness in the wine
but with balancing acidity. A bold white with good fruit
– Alsace Pinot Gris (Zind-Humbrecht would be amazing)
In large saucepan, heat oil, butter and curry powder over medium
heat. Add red pepper and green onion and sauté 2 to 3 minutes;
stir in walnuts, cook 1 minute. Remove from heat and season with
salt and pepper. Place Brie in ovenproof serving dish. Divide walnut
mixture evenly and place on top of rounds. Bake in 350°F (180°C)
oven for 10 to 15 minutes or until cheese just starts to melt.
Makes 2 rounds.
Sautéed Scallops in Spiced Carrot Juice
||What a great combo, and so very California. Plump,
sweet sea scallops bathed in spiced fresh carrot juice and warmed
with cinnamon and nutmeg. Perfect!
Serves 4 as a main course
8 oz. fava beans or other large shelling beans, shelled
2 cups carrot juice
½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter cut into pieces, plus 4
¼ cup diced carrots
¼ cup diced zucchini
Pinch of cayenne pepper, or to taste
Pinch of ground cinnamon
Several gratings of nutmeg
Sea salt to taste
12 large sea scallops (about 1½ lbs.)
8 ounces dried orecchiette or shell-shaped pasta
4 sprigs flat-leaf parsley for garnish
Blanch the fava beans in boiling water for about 2 minutes. Drain
and pinch off the skins with your fingers. Set aside in a small
In a large saucepan, combine the carrot juice, ½ cup butter,
and carrots. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to a simmer and stir until
the butter is melted. Add the zucchini, cayenne, cinnamon, nutmeg
and fava beans. Simmer until vegetables are tender, 3 to 5 minutes.
Add salt. Cover and keep warm over very low heat.
Match with a dry, medium-bodied white – my choice
would be Pouilly-Fuisse from Burgundy or a New Zealand
In a large sauté pan or skillet, melt the 4 tablespoons
butter over medium-high heat. Pat the scallops dry with a paper
towel and add them to the pan one at a time. Sauté until
browned on both sides and slightly firm to the touch. Transfer to
an ovenproof platter and keep warm in a low oven.
In a large pot of salted boiling water, cook the pasta until al
dente, about 10 minutes. Drain well and divide among warmed shallow
bowls. Ladle a generous amount of the carrot sauce over each pasta
portion and place 3 scallops on top of each serving. Garnish with
parsley and serve at once.
Seared Foie Gras with Arugula
and Roasted Asian Pear Compote
Foie gras is a phenomenally rich delicacy that seduces the palate
with its velvety texture and concentrated flavour. In this recipe,
the sweetness of pears and spicy arugula add interesting highlights.
Asian pears are crisp and round and almost as hard as an apple;
if you can't find them, Bosc pears are fine.
Serves 4 as a very rich first course
2 unpeeled Asian pears, halved and cored
1 tsp canola oil
1 tsp hazelnut oil
1 tsp fresh lemon juice
1 tsp off-dry wine such as Riesling or Gewürztraminer
2 tsp honey
¼ tsp coarse salt
Pinch of freshly ground black pepper
1 lobe (12 oz) fresh foie gras
¼ tsp kosher or coarse salt, plus salt to taste
Several grindings of pepper, plus pepper to taste
3 bunches (about 4 ounces each) arugula, stemmed
To make the compote: Preheat the oven to 375°F. Coat
the pear halves with the oils and place cut side down in a pie pan.
Bake for 35 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool for 20 minutes.
Carefully peel the pears and cut into ¼-inch wide lengthwise
slices, then into ¼-inch-thick crosswise slices to make 1
inch long matchsticks. In medium bowl, combine the pear pieces and
the juices remaining in the pie pan. Add all the remaining compote
ingredients and toss so that the pear pieces are well coated. Set
With a paring knife, gently cut, pull or scrape away as many veins
from the foie gras as possible. With a long, slender, sharp knife
that has been dipped in very hot water, cut the liver into 8 approximately
½-inch-thick crosswise slices. Be careful not to force the
knife through too quickly, which could damage the foie gras. Dip
the knife into the hot water after each slice.
a sweet white wine, well chilled – Rheingau Riesling
Auslese quality, Vouvray Demi-Sec or Late-Harvest Riesling.
Heat a large nonstick sauté pan or skillet over medium-high
heat until very hot. (If you don't have a nonstick pan, watch the
foie gras very carefully to prevent burning.) Gently lay the foie
gras slices in the pan and sear until evenly browned on the first
side, about 1 minute. Turn the slices, season with the ¼
tsp salt and the pepper, and cook 1 minute longer. Using a slotted
spatula, transfer to paper towels to drain. Pour out all but 1 tsp
of the fat and juice in the pan. Add the arugula and quickly sauté
over medium heat until the leaves wilt, about 10 to 15 seconds.
Season with salt and pepper.
Arrange a small bed of wilted arugula in the center of each of
4 warmed salad plates. Place 2 slices of foie gras on top of the
greens on each plate and spoon 2 Tbsp of the pear compote over each
Flourless Chocolate-Walnut Torte
with Pinot-Noir-laced Strawberries and Whipped Cream
||D&DL author Jeff Morgan comments, "The
inspiration for this dessert comes from northern Italy, where
pizza di noci, a thin chocolate-nut torte, is one of
the best-loved desserts. The meringue base makes this cake lighter
than you would expect. In place of the balsamic vinegar, commonly
used to macerate strawberries in Italy, we've used Pinot Noir,
which is less acidic and pungent. Use a fairly good Pinot, one
that offers plenty of rich cherry and berry flavors. Enjoy the
rest of the bottle with your main course." Sounds like
a plan to us!
Makes one 9- or 10-inch torte; serves 6 to 8
Pinot Noir-Laced Strawberries
1/3 cup sugar
1 cup Pinot Noir wine
2 cups fresh strawberries, hulled and halved
Flourless Chocolate-Walnut Torte
5 eggs, separated
½ cup plus 5 Tbsp sugar
1 cup (6 ounces) bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
2 cups (8 ounces) walnuts, chopped
1 cup heavy cream
2 tsp sugar
To make the strawberries: In a medium bowl, combine the
sugar and Pinot Noir. Stir until the sugar is dissolved. Add the
strawberries and let sit for 2 to 3 hours.
To make the torte: Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line the
bottom of a 9- to 10-inch springform pan with a round of parchment
paper. In a large bowl, beat the egg yolks until pale in color.
Gradually beat in the ½ cup sugar and continue beating until
the mixture is thickened. In a large bowl, beat the egg whites until
foamy. Gradually beat the 5 Tbsp of sugar into the egg whites, 1
Tbsp at a time. Continue to beat until stiff, glossy peaks form.
Alternately fold the chopped chocolate, walnuts, and meringue into
the yolk mixture by thirds until well blended. Pour into the prepared
pan and bake until the torte is firm to the touch, does not jiggle
when shaken and has risen to the top of the pan and turned golden
brown, 25 to 30 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool to room
temperature on a wire rack.
a sweet red or Demi-Sec Champagne – Banyuls, Late
Harvest Zinfandel, ruby port or Pol Roger Demi-Sec Champagne.
To unmold, run a knife around the edges of the pan to detach. Invert
onto a plate and peel off the parchment paper. Invert again onto
a serving plate.
To make the whipped cream: In a deep bowl, combine the cream
and sugar. Beat until soft peaks form.
To serve, cut the torte into wedges and top with the strawberries
and whipped cream.
For more information on the California Wine Fair and upcoming California
wine events, go to www.calwine.ca,
call 1-800-558-CORK (2675) or email email@example.com.
Chateau Montebello: call 1-800-441-1414 or visit www.fairmont.com.
We wish to thank Chronicle Books, San Francisco, for permission
recipes and pictures from Dean & DeLuca: The Food & Wine
Cookbook by Jeff Morgan. Photographs by Steven Rothfeld.
Brie with Walnuts recipe and photograph courtesy of the California
Walnut Commission, www.walnutinfo.com.
Happily tested by Helen Hatton and Ron Morris.
Download these recipes in printable
form as an Acrobat PDF (159 KB)