Cooking with Wine

In my travels of the culinary world, I have met a good number of people who consider themselves foodies and food lovers who turn their noses up at the mention of wine in cooking. This group is divided, in equal parts, into two categories: those who think wine should remain in the glass and those who just don’t like wine. They are all fools. Let’s go over some reasons why I think wine racks should be visited as often as our spice racks.

Wine is one of the best additions you can make to a marinade. Not only is wine a great source of complimentary flavors, but it is also acidic. For anyone who has studied the finer points of marinade concoction, this should perk up your ears. Acidic liquids help to tenderize meat and wine will add a good amount of flavor while adding almost nothing to the calorie content of a food.

I have been in too many homes where the only bottles of wine were bought to fill up contemporary wine racks that were only bought to act as design elements. This is an atrocity, in my opinion. I love cooking for my friends and I find a situation like this to be a perfect opportunity to pop that cork and show them that wine is for more than looking pretty. Even a tablespoon of red wine in the steaming water of a basket of vegetables can lend layers of rich complexity and flavor that kick up otherwise bland vegetables. Wine is a great way to add moisture while adding flavor without watering down steamed food. Steamed vegetables can be bland and bitter.

One of the biggest mistakes I have seen when cooking with wine is dousing your food with the vino you choose. You want to compliment the food rather than masking it. White wines should be used for fish and poultry while red wines are more suited for use with beef and lamb; both in small quantities to enhance the natural flavors of the main protein source. I see this as a major reason people get turned off from using wine in their cooking. You wouldn’t want a steak that is drenched in so much soy sauce that you can’t taste the animal. If you want to taste nothing but wine, get a glass.

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