BOLD FOOD DESERVES BOLD PAIRINGS – BE BOLD

By Aaron Walters

I thought for my inaugural food and wine pairing blog post I would tackle one of the most common misconceptions in food and wine pairing -- the rule that you can't pair red wine with fish! This is only one of the many "faux pas" that has constricted both chefs and sommeliers for years, and one by one they are falling by the wayside.

The dish I made for this pairing was Marbled King Salmon with Bacon Wilted Greens and Smoked Tomato Water. While it may sound like a complicated dish, I assure you it is not. The wine I paired with this dish was a 2009 Herederos del Marques de Riscal Grand Reserva Rioja. Why does this wine pair well you ask; I will gladly tell you. While it's true that Rioja is a heavy wine, marbled king salmon is a very heavy, fatty fish. Also, by incorporating bacon and smoke into the dish I mirrored the heaviness and smokiness of the wine. The end result was a perfectly harmonious blending of food and wine that could never be reached by using a white wine. Bold food deserves bold pairings! Be bold.

For those of you that would like to recreate this dish, you're in luck! The recipe is below.

Marbled King Salmon with Bacon Wilted Greens and Smoked Tomato Water

Ingredients:

  • 4 Fillets of King Salmon
  • 1 pound Smoky Bacon
  • Spinach and Kale
  • 1.5 pounds Vine Ripened Tomatoes
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1/2 cup parsley and basil
  • Salt
  • Pepper

For the Salmon: Get a nice marbled piece of King Salmon and season it with course sea salt and freshly ground black pepper. Render down some smoky bacon (the smokier the better!) and reserve for later. Pour out all but 2T of the bacon fat and place the salmon flesh side down in the pan and sear for 2 minutes. Immediately transfer to a 350 degree oven and bake for 8-10 minutes.

In a clean pan, heat the reserved bacon fat and sauté the greens until wilted.

For the tomato water: Pulse the tomatoes, garlic, parsley and basil in a food processor until fully incorporated. Set a fine mesh sieve over a bowl with the reserved bacon inside and pour the tomato mixture into the sieve. Set in the fridge and let drain overnight. When you are ready to serve, warm the tomato water and pour into bowls. Next, mound some wilted greens and place a salmon fillet on top.