Occasions Magazine: The NSLC's Celebration of Food & Drink
getting saucy!
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getting saucy!

Chef Shaun Zwarun leads the DesBarres Manor Inn culinary team, bringing a unique East Coast flair to contemporary Canadian cuisine. Here are some of his secrets to cooking with wine.

For many people,  adding a splash of wine is just part of the sauce-making process. But how many really think about what wine they are using. Too often, it is the last two ounces of the wine they had last week or the least expensive wine they could find at the local NSLC store.

Yet, when choosing the fresh herb to add their favourite sauce, no one uses the bunch of basil that has been sitting on the counter for a week or forego the rosemary because the Italian parsley is 50 cents less expensive. The same care for
ingredients should apply to the wine used for cooking. It is, after all, one of the key flavouring agents of many sauces.

Here are some quick tips for cooking with wine:

1) If you wouldn’t drink the wine, don’t cook with it. Oxidized wine (the one left out for two weeks on the counter) doesn’t get better in a sauce.

2) Use lighter wines such as northern Italian Pinot Grigio when preparing lighter sauces and, conversely, heavy wines such as Cabernet Sauvignon for rich sauces.

3) Flavour intensifies by the process of reduction. Remember not to use too much wine or over reduce, as the wine may overwhelm the rest of the dish.

4) For rich fat-based sauces such as butter sauces, use a high acid wine such as Sauvignon Blanc or a cool-climate Chardonnay.

5) If the recipe only calls for a couple ounces of wine in the sauce, use the same wine you are serving with the dish. Invariably, the weight and flavours of the wine will be in perfect harmony for the sauce.
viva la margarita!
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