I don’t know about you but things have certainly heated up in Dallas this August. Gone are the days of endless rain; we are in full-fledged heat and humidity. During this time of year I like to eat light, clean foods paired with crisp, refreshing wine. Additionally, the hot Texas summer offers a perfect time to embrace the Mediterranean diet of fresh vegetables, fruits and seafood. I am sure you are as busy as I am and prefer your weeknight meals to be healthy but also quick and ultimately delicious. Well I have a perfect hot summer weeknight food and wine pairing suggestion for you.
The idea of the Mediterranean diet involves eating a high quantity of fresh vegetables and fruit, replacing fatty oils for leaner oils such as olive oil, limiting high fat meats and eating plenty of fresh seafood and whole grains. This meal hits on each one of those points while also being full of flavor and delicious. I found this recipe in the July 2015 edition of Cooking Light Magazine on the “Let’s Get Cooking!” page. The recipe was created by Tim Cebula; it is his lighter version of a Tuscan favorite: Panzella Salad, and is perfect to beat the summer heat.
- 1 salmon filet, enough to serve 4; I bought Wild Caught Sock-Eyed Salmon
- 1 tsp kosher salt
- ½ t ground black pepper divided
- 1 Tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 ½ cups cooked quinoa (about ½ cup uncooked)
- ½ cup quartered cherry tomatoes
- ½ cup diced red onions
- ½ cup chopped fresh basil leaves
- ¼ cup red wine vinegar
- ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 Tablespoons capers, rinsed and drained
Sprinkle salmon evenly with ¼ teaspoon of salt and 1/8 teaspoon of pepper. Heat a medium skillet over high heat. Add 1 Tablespoon oil to pan. Add fillet, skin side down; cook 2 minutes. Reduce heat to medium-high; cook 4 minutes or until skin begins to brown. Turn fillet; cook 2 minutes or until desired degree of doneness. Place fillet on a cutting board. Remove and discard skin. Flake fillet with fork into small chunks. Combined flaked salmon, remaining salt and pepper, quinoa, and remaining ingredients into a large bowl, toss to combine and serve. 4 servings; 345 calories.
I did not make my salad exactly as Tim suggested; here are my alterations. I did not measure any ingredients. I sprinkled the salmon with kosher salt, cracked black pepper and EVOO and roasted it, skin side down, in a 375 degree oven for 30 minutes (it was cooked perfectly). I substituted cherry tomatoes for fresh Heirloom tomatoes in 4 different varieties. I added some toasted French bread crumbs that I tossed in EVOO and roasted in the oven for 12 minutes at 300 degree. I added a small amount of diced fresh mozzarella. I omitted the capers. The salad was delicious! The salad was served about room temperature; everything was fresh and crisp. It was perfect for a hot summer night and perfect for a healthy meal!
Frequently I chose a meal to pair with a wine, but today I chose a wine to pair with the salad. I wanted a white wine as crisp, clean and delicious as the salad and I found the perfect combination; when in doubt Drink Alsace!
Trimbach Reserve Pinot Gris 2011: This 100% Pinot Gris poured a golden yellow into the glass and opened with inviting aromas of white peaches, citrus, melon and minerality with soft herbal notes. On the palate this wine had a firm mineral backbone, upon that backbone lay flavors of grapefruit, white peaches, lemon zest and savory herbal notes in the back of the palate with a touch of salinity. It had a creamy and smooth texture with rich, round acidity leaving a lingering mouth-wateringly dry finish. This wine was fermented in temperature controlled stainless steel and concrete vats and was not aged in oak. It contained 13.35% alcohol.
This wine paired beautifully with the meal. The round acidity was a perfect complement to the tomatoes and red wine vinegar without either over powering the other. The smooth, creamy texture of the wine was a seamless balance with the creaminess of the salmon, and the touch of fresh mozzarella. A simple yet elegant weeknight meal worthy of guests!
For me the name Trimach is synonymous with outstanding Alsatian wine! I know I am not the only one who feels this way. If you are not familiar with the beautiful dry white wines of Alsace find them now; and Trimach is a great place to start!
Let’s learn more about Trimbach from their web site:
The viticultural origin of the Trimbach Family dates back to 1626. For almost four centuries, the Trimbach Family has been promoting Alsace and its History, its exceptional terroirs and fine wines. Today, the family vineyard is led by Hubert Trimbach, nephews Jean and Pierre, and his daughter Anne, the eldest of the 13th generation. Much enthusiasm and great ambitions that perpetuate tradition, the requirement and the know-how to bring wines to perfection. The undisputed masters of that “style Trimbach” a world reference among the Alsace Wine…
The Family personaly looks after each operation, from planting to harvests and from vinification to bottling.
Maison Trimbach’s vineyards are all situated around Ribeauvillé, where the soils are dominant in limestone (Ribeauvillé, Hunawihr, Bergheim, Rorschwihr, Riquewihr and Mittelwihr).
They benefit from the unique alsatian microclimate, thanks to the Vosges Mountains protection, which preserves the plain from the rain.
The Trimbachs have always had a purist vision. For 12 generations, the Family has been producing dry wines, very strictly structured, long-living and fruity, elegant and balanced: it’s the Trimbach Style !
The Trimbachs let their wines age in the bottles in the cellar during several years before they release them on the market, especially for the Great Wines, such as Riesling Cuvée Frédéric Emile.
My Song Selection: The song I have chosen to pair with the Trimbach 2011 Pinot Gris is “Send Me on My Way” by Rusted Root. The song is fresh, crisp and light with lots of flavor; just like the wine. Two great ways to beat the heat!
Get your own bottle of Trimbach Reserve 2011 Pinot Gris and let me know what song you pair with it. Cheers!