Taking orders for a living…. That is, food and beverage orders!
I recently realized that orders for a glass of Cabernet Sauvignon have been shadowed by the ever so famous Merlot, not to mention the highly popular Pinot Noir (thanks to Hollywood) and lately the “Land from Down Under” has dominated with Shiraz.
But are they chosen due to marketing from the wine industry, or simply because they have more to offer than what I think is the King of grapes, Cabernet Sauvignon?
Having years of experience in the industry has allowed me to taste many wonderful Cabs, especially if the bottle has had time to age peacefully in a good cool cellar.
And many collectors have trusted me to complement their “Jewels” with dishes that would allow their wine to show the best on the palette.
Cabernet Sauvignon, matched with high quality meat, game or cheese, offers great pleasure and is often an exquisite partner on the table. Because of the complexity of the varietal, especially if the bottle has been allowed to age for a while, it helps to match Cabernet Sauvignon to dishes with “focused” flavors such as those suggested in recipes to follow.
These recipes let the food showcase the wine, permitting it to be the star that it can be. I urge you to put on an apron, open a good bottle of Cabernet sauvignon, start slicing and dicing, take a sip or two, but more importantly let the bottle breathe while you cook.
Grilled New York Strip Steaks (M) with Gorgonzola and Walnut Butter
New York strip steaks (off the grill, cooked medium) with Gorgonzola and Walnut “butter.”
4 New York strip steaks (14 oz. each)
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
4 cloves of garlic (chopped)
A splash of balsamic vinegar
1 tbs of fresh chopped rosemary
Fresh cracked black pepper
Combine all ingredients and marinate the steaks for 4-5 hours in the refrigerator. Remove steaks from marinade and set aside in room temperature.
Gorgonzola and Walnut “butter”:
8 oz. Gorgonzola, cut into small chunks
1 tbs white wine Worcestershire
2 tbs pickled green peppercorns
1/2 cup lightly toasted walnut halves
1 1/2 tbs minced chives
6 drops of Tabasco
Combine all ingredients in a food processor, and process for about a minute until mixed thoroughly (can be made ahead, but serve at room temperature).
Preheat your garden grill at high temperature; “season” your grill with an olive oil rub down.
Place your steaks on the hottest spot (DO NOT TOUCH THEM). Let them sear for about 2 minutes. With a metal spatula lift the steaks and rotate 90 degrees clockwise, and (DO NOT TOUCH THEM) let them sear once again for about 2 minutes.
With the spatula flip the steaks and repeat procedure on other side.
Once seared on both sides (Guinness beer brown), move steaks to a lesser temperature on the grill, and flip them every 2 minutes back and forth, for another 6 – 8 minutes.
Season with salt and pepper.
Flip over once again to the plate, and serve immediately with a generous dollop of Gorgonzola and Walnut “butter” on top.
Grilled Veal Chops with Roasted Eggplant and Cherry Tomato Ragout
Center cut veal chops (16 oz each)
2 tbs extra virgin olive oil
1 tbs chopped shallots
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1 tbs Dijon mustard
2 tbs chopped fresh basil
Fresh cracked black pepper
Combine all ingredients and marinate in refrigerator for 4-5 hours. Remove chops from marinade and set aside at room temperature.
Roasted Eggplant and Cherry Tomato Ragout
2 medium globe eggplants (peeled) and cut into 1/2 inch slices
2 1/2 tbs extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup chopped yellow onion
1 lb. whole cherry tomatoes
2 tbs chopped garlic
1/2 cup chopped fresh basil
2 tbs chopped fresh oregano
1/2 tbs toasted fennel seeds and cracked
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly brush eggplant slices with olive oil and sprinkle with salt, place on baking sheet and roast in the oven for 1/2 hour, next cut into 1/2 inch cubes.
In a sauté pan, add remaining olive oil along with onions and garlic, sauté 3 minutes until translucent, add tomatoes, herbs, fennel seeds and eggplant and cook for 8–10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Season to taste, keep warm.
Preheat your garden grill at high temperature, “season” your grill with an olive oil rub down.
Place veal chops on the hottest spot (DO NOT TOUCH THEM) let them sear for about 2 minutes, with a metal spatula lift the chops and rotate 90 degrees clock wise, and (DO NOT TOUCH THEM) let them sear once again for 2 minutes.
With the spatula flip the chops and repeat procedure on other side. Once seared on both sides (dark amber brown) move the veal chops to a lesser temperature on the grill, keep cooking them for another 8–10 minutes, flipping them every 2–3 minutes.
Veal chops should cook through, staying juicy and not well done and dry.
Season with salt and pepper, set aside.
Place onto serving plate or platter, flipping them once again; ladle eggplant ragout on top, and serve immediately.
Trick of the trade:
By flipping back and forth once browned or seared, will allow juices to run back and forth leaving steak or chop juicy and cooked to perfection.
Apple and Marzipan Strudel with Crème Fraiche
4 sheets of fillo dough
1 stick of butter (melted)
1 cup of fresh Marzipan (almond paste, very cold or frozen, so can be grated)
2 apples (Granny Smith, peeled, cored and diced)
2 tbs of sugar
Splash of white wine
1/2 cup raisins (golden)
4 spoonfuls of Cuban dark rum
2 cups of Crème Fraiche
1 tsp of powder sugar
Juice from 1 lemon
1 egg beaten
In a pot combine apples, sugar, white wine, vanilla, raisins, rum.
Cook for about 10 minutes until apples are tender, set aside.
Arrange 1 sheet of fillo dough on a table, brush with melted butter, grate marzipan over sheet, repeat with remaining 3 sheets of fillo dough.
Cut fillo dough into 4 pieces (like such +) divide apple compot onto each square of dough, and roll them like a “spring roll.”
Place on a baking sheet, closing down. Brush with the beaten egg and bake about 10 minutes at 325 degrees.
Whip Crème Fraiche, cinnamon, powdered sugar and lemon juice smooth and serve next to apple – marzipan strudel.
Red wine Poached Pears and a slice of “Stilton”
Red wine poached pears and a slice of Gorgonzola
1 Bosc pears (peeled, cut in 1/2)
2 cups of red wine (don’t be cheap)
2 bay leaves
Pinch of salt
Tsp of sugar
5 pepper corn
Slices of Stilton Cheese (2 slices per serving)
Place all ingredients in a small pot, bring to a simmer and poach for aprox. 20 minutes until pears are tender.
Set aside (this can be done a day ahead, in fact it’s best done a day ahead)
Remove pears from liquid, reduce the liquid into a syrup, set aside.
Place 2 slices of Stilton (consult your local market for cheese selection) on 2 plates, arrange pears on top, drizzle with the syrup.
And serve with warm bread and maybe a small tossed salad.
For information visit www.twochefsrestaurant.com