A general rule of thumb when pairing wine and food is to keep the two compatible. For example, white wines go well with lighter meats such as fish, chicken and turkey. Heavy reds go well with darker meats, such as beef and lamb. While there are always exceptions to the rules, you can often find a heavenly match when adhering to these like-minded combinations. How about a lighter-styled red though, such as Pinot Noir?
In the vineyards, Pinot is a tricky grape to grow because it is thin-skinned and delicate; when pairing Pinot Noir with food, however, it is ever the versatile choice. Pinot Noir can be paired with a wide range of dishes, meats and fish—and it just so happens to go particularly well with salmon. Because Pinot Noir is both delicate and complex, salmon is an excellent companion because of its supple texture, rich flavor and fattiness. Pinot Noir and salmon share the same duality of being both light and rich at the time same, and when you bring together these two with a delicious marinade as the bridge, you just can’t go wrong.
At Judd’s Hill Winery, they have developed a simple salmon recipe that brings a ton of flavor and depth to the plate. Likewise, their 2011 Estate Pinot Noir from Napa Valley also brings a lot of pleasurable flavors and length on the palate. The wine’s natural beauty really shines through by way of its aging in neutral oak barrels; without new oak influencing the flavor, the fresh fruit flavors and terroir of the vineyard grace the palate in plain view. Pair these two for a perfect evening!
The Double-Smoked Sweet Umami Grilled Salmon, grilled with a cedar smoking plank and wood smoking chips, is a scrumptious match for Judd’s Hill Winery’s 2011 Estate Pinot Noir. It has lovely red fruit aromatics, followed by a combination of cherry, raspberry and a touch of pomegranate on the palate. These notes lend themselves well to the sweet and savory salmon marinade of honey, mustard, soy sauce and fresh ginger. While the honey brings a touch of sweetness to the pairing, the mustard and soy sauce contrast the wine’s fruit and provide extra complexity. The fresh ginger makes the entire palate feel refreshed, cleansing the taste buds with each and every flavorful bite.
This tasty recipe, as well as other delicious recipes, can be found on the Judd’s Hill Winery website!
Double-Smoked Sweet Umami Grilled Salmon
- Six boneless salmon filets (Whole Foods sells a frozen pack
- of six salmon filets that work perfectly for this recipe)
- ¼ cup of diced red onion
- Two cedar smoking planks
- Wood smoking chips and a metal grill-top smoker box
- 2 tablespoons honey
- 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce
- 1 teaspoon fresh ginger or ginger paste (We use Gourmet Garden Ginger Paste)
Soak cedar smoking plank(s) and wood chips for a minimum of four hours, preferably six to eight hours or even overnight. Be sure to weigh down the wood planks so they are fully submerged during soaking.
Preheat grill to 500 with wood chips (in smoke box) placed on top of burners along the side of the grill. Prepare marinade as grill heats.
Warm honey in microwave for 20 seconds at half power to soften. Mix mustard into the honey first and then mix in ginger and soy sauce. Place salmon filets onto water-soaked cedar planks and brush marinade on salmon filets. Sprinkle ¼ cup of diced red onions over salmon. Place planks with salmon on grill. Make sure to avoid placing the planks directly over the box of wood chips, in case the box flares up with a fire. Grill the salmon for 12 minutes. Be careful not to overcook. Twelve minutes goes by fast! We like to serve the salmon on a bed of balsamic drizzled arugula alongside new potatoes and a little mac-n-cheese.
(Recipe by Devin Joshua, Judd’s Hill Winery; Photo provided by Judd's Hill Winery)
*Originally published in Wine Country This Week.