After missing several Wine Pairing Weekend get-togethers we are back with our monthly food and wine pairing group of bloggers. We missed everyone! Camilla, who blogs at Culinary Adventures with Camilla, challenged us to fire up the grill and devise a food and wine paring. No problem, we love to grill and do so quite often when the weather is nice.
Something else we do quite often is drink rosé – regardless of the weather. I’m one of those people who enjoys rosé all year long. When the weather is hot I find rosé refreshing, when the weather is cold and rainy it is my substitute for sunshine. And because June 10, the day our #winePW group will gather on Twitter to chat about our food and wine parings, is National Rosé Day (#NationalRoséDay) I just had to choose rosé to pair with our grilled meal. So, for this pairing we started with the wine and then made our grilling choice.
Both rosés we chose for this paring are new to us, though we have tasted rosé from both regions before. We decided to grill chicken, a safe choice we figured, and to pair it with couscous salad. Here’s how it all unfolded.
Though we often grill chicken – usually whole, spatchcocked or pieces – we rarely grill skewered chicken. So, to change our approach a bit, that’s what we tried. I chopped two chicken breasts (I always buy chicken from Mary’s Chicken Free Range Chickens) into 1-inch cubes and cut several small spring onions in half to add to the skewers. The marinade I used is one the owner of a wonderful Italian restaurant gave me years ago. She just gave me the ingredients, not the amounts. I never measure anything and you don’t need to either, but here is a guide.
Lemon Basil Marinade for Chicken Skewers
- zest of one lemon
- juice of one lemon
- 1 clove of garlic, minced
- 8 basil leaves, finely chopped
- 1/3 cup olive oil
- salt and pepper to taste
- 2 chicken breasts, cut to 1-inch dice
- 1 red onion, quartered, with slices separated
Note: we have a lemon tree in our yard so the lemons I use are always plump and juicy. If the lemons you buy at the market are not as big and juicy you may need two. Use the zest from both lemons.
- Add all ingredients, except the chicken and spring onions, to a glass mixing bowl and whisk to combine.
- Add cubed chicken and marinate in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.
- Begin skewer with a piece of onion, then several pieces of chicken and onion. Repeat, ending with a piece of onion to keep the chicken in place.
- Grill 12 – 15 minutes, turning every 3 minutes, until juices run clear.
As I write this it occurs to me I don’t have a recipe for the couscous salad either. Oh well, same deal here, I just estimate everything, so here is my estimated recipe for the salad. I often substitute orzo or regular couscous for pearl couscous.
Pearl Couscous Salad
- 1 1/2 cups pearl couscous cooked according to package instructions
- 1/2 red bell pepper, finely chopped
- 1/4 red onion, finely chopped
- 1/4 cup pine nuts, toasted in a dry frying pan until light brown
- 10 leaves basil, finely chopped
- 3 oz crumbled feta cheese
- 1/3 cup olive oil
- 3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
- salt and pepper to taste
- Transfer cooked pearl couscous to a colander and rinse with cool water. Drain water completely.
- Stir in oil and vinegar.
- Add red bell pepper, red onion, pine nuts, basil and feta cheese. Season with salt and pepper. Mix well.
- Taste and adjust seasoning, oil and vinegar as desired.
2015 Girolamo Russo Etna Rosato — translucent copper in the glass with generous dusty earth, minerals and blackberry aromas. Earthy blackberry and dusty gravel flavors combine with a grating of citrus zest for a refreshing taste. Tongue-tingling acidity keeps this wine bright and super refreshing. Light tannins lend texture. The finish is at least moderate in length. 12.5% abv. $35
It would be easy to underestimate this wine, but there is a lot going on here if you pay attention. I love the combination of fruit and interesting, earthy flavors in this wine made from Nerello Mascalese at the northern foot of Mt. Etna in Sicily. The vineyards, some of which are 100 years old, are farmed organically. Yay!
2016 Château d’Aqueria Tavel — translucent, bright raspberry in the glass with generous strawberry, raspberry and blackberry aromas. A medley of berry flavors are backed by woodsy, damp earth and citrus. Very light tannins contribute texture to the lingering finish which is bright and clean. I think there is more acidity here than immediately evident due to the generous fruit flavors.14% abv. $21.99
Don’t look at the color of this rosé and think soda pop. It’s not. The Southern Rhône appellation of Tavel takes rosé seriously. Only rosé may be made in this warm, dry, rocky appellation. This rosé is a blend of Grenache Noir, Clairette, Cinsault, Mourvèdre, Syrah, Bourboulenc. It is no shrinking violet; more like the like of the party.
These two rosés are different in appearance and flavor. Variety is one of the things I most enjoy about drinking rosé and it is on full display with these two wines. We purchased both wines on a recent trip to Santa Barbara. Whenever we travel by car we comb wine shops for new and interesting wines. These are two from that trip.
Delizioso! The chicken was tender, juicy and a bit citrusy with hints of garlic and basil. The salad was alive with the flavor of basil and toasted pine nuts. This is a perfect example of simple cooking made delicious with the addition of fresh ingredients – lemons and basil.
Both wines were delicious with our meal, but very different. The Girolamo Russo Etna Rosato stood toe-to-toe with the food in terms of acidity. The mineral flavors of the wine were accentuated as was the acidity with this food pairing. The Château d’Aqueria Tavel was much more fruity and gave the meal a rounder, less lean and acidic taste. A really interesting pairing. We decided we would prefer to drink the Girolamo Russo Etna Rosato while preparing the meal and the Château d’Aqueria Tavel with the meal.
The rest of the Wine Pairing Weekend bloggers have also grilled something for everyone. The list looks delicious.
- Cindy at Grape Experiences is All Fired Up! Light the Grill and Pour Troon Wines
- David of Cooking Chat shared Grilled Steak and Onions
- Gwendolyn of Wine Predator wrote On Grill: Salmon, Squash, Stone Fruit; In Glass: Square Peg Pinot Noir x2
- Jeff of FoodWineClick posted about Summer Wines With Memphis Style Slow Smoked Ribs
- Jill of L’occasion planned Wine for A Summer Cookout
- Julie at Wine-n-Friends paired Smoked Pork and Tempranillo: An evening with friends #winePW
- Mary at Vindulge has joined us for the first time with Smoked Beef Short Ribs, Wine Braised
- Michelle at Rockin’ Red Blog wrote about Summer Grilling and Wine Pairings
- Wendy at A Day in the Life on the Farm poured and paired Raspberry/Mango Glazed Ham Steaks with Edna Valley Pinot Noir
- Camilla at Culinary Adventures with Camilla – plated Grilled Octopus and Potato Salad with a Pet Nat from Donkey & Goat
We will gather on Twitter at 8 am Pacific Time, Saturday, June 10 to talk food and wine. Follow #winePW and join us to share your favorite grilled food pairings with wine.