“I enjoy cooking with wine. Sometimes I even put it in the food I’m cooking.” ~Julia Child
Nothing can turn an average sauce into a great one like adding some wine. Not only is wine delicious, but it also has great health benefits when consumed in smaller doses. Especially when it comes to Italian cooking, wine is often an essential ingredient.
However, you can’t just pick up any bottle that you have lying around, add it to your meal, and expect instant success. Cooking with wine requires a bit of technique and wine knowledge. And often recipes won’t go much further than listing the color of the wine used. But a moscato and a chardonnay will produce very different flavors.
Sometimes cooking with wine just requires a little intuition. If you’re going for a more savory dish, you wouldn’t want to add a dessert wine to your recipe. On the other hand, if your dish has piquant or spicy flavors, the fruitier flavor of a Riesling will help to balance the tones. It’s all about what can complement the food.
Types of Wine
The best wines to use for cooking are typically ports, marsalas, and Madeiras. So if you’re in a pinch, opt for one of those. Madeira is especially common among Italian and other Mediterranean dishes. When a recipe calls for dry white wine, your go-to should be Sauvignon Blanc.
Cooking sherry should actually be avoided, because it is typically of poorer quality and will not have the same attributes as regular drinking wine.
Red or White?
One great rule of thumb for choosing white wine versus red wine in your cooking is by matching the colors. For darker foods such as berries, chocolate, and steak, red wine is a great addition. And lighter-colored foods such as lemons and limes, fish, and chicken work well with white wine.
When to Use
If you just can’t get enough of wine in your food, consider using it as a supplement to oil and add a bit in the pan when you’re sautéing vegetables or in a marinade. Simmering a bit of wine with whatever you’re cooking is a great way to add a new dimension of flavor to your dish.
Make sure to give the wine enough time to meld with the flavors of the dish and simmer off some of the alcohol before serving. Typically the wine flavor is too pungent at this stage and might overtake your other flavors, so allow it about ten minutes before taking it off the heat.
If you love cooking and wine, then you will love Julio’s Liquors. Located on Route 9 in Westborough, MA, Julio’s Liquors not only has a huge wine selection, but also a gourmet foods section that will help you create the finest wine dishes. Visit us today!