Wine Pairing Recipes with Casal Garcia and Santa Margherita Wines
By Julianne Clancy; Photos by Sean von Lembke
Wine Pairing Recipes – The weather is starting to get cooler, but, if you’re like me, that just means more opportunity for some hot nights in the kitchen, making a perfect meal to impress that special someone in your life. There are three ingredients that any at-home date night absolutely must have: simplicity, sophistication, and plenty of delicious wine. So when I was lucky enough to get my hands on these three beautiful bottles of Casal Garcia and Santa Margherita wine, I knew I had to make a night out of it with a perfectly paired three course meal, so I decided to create three Wine Pairing Recipes!
Nothing starts off a meal better than a good rosé: slightly sweet and slightly sour, not too heavy but not too light. Thus, it made sense to begin a Casal Garcia and Santa Margarita wine feast with Casal Garcia’s Vinho Verde Rosé. With a tart juiciness reminiscent of black cherries or blackberries, a gentle nose, a slight frisante to awaken the palate, and a beautiful dark rose color, it is a beautifully balanced glass which will pique the interest without blowing out the palate or ruining the meal to come.
Knowing the sourness would pair well with the sweetness of shellfish, I chose to match this luscious rosé with Seared Scallops, Served with a Smoky and Spicy Red Pepper Purée. Scallops are always a great date night option. They’re rich and luxurious, but also must be prepared a la minute, meaning less time spent in the kitchen and more time spent with the one you love. The red pepper purée is easy to prepare in advance and gives the dish a little kick of heat and a little bit of depth from the aromatic paprika. The acidity of the Casal Garcia Vinho Verde Rosé balances the unctuous fish and cools down the slight spice, while the basil adds a hint of freshness to the dish.
There’s a reason that Chianti Classico is considered a king among wines, and, for this Casal Garcia and Santa Margherita wine extravaganza, we had one of the best of the best gracing our glasses. Santa Margherita’s Chianti Classico Riserva is everything a Chianti should be: rich and juicy, with hints of stone fruit; smoky and complex, with notes of leather and tobacco; a nice pucker at the front with a smooth finish. While this is a wine that could be enjoyed with many meals, I find nothing goes quite as well with a beautiful red than an equally beautiful steak.
When it comes to a good cut of meat, the less you do to it, the better—which is why I chose to make a simple Pan Seared Filet Mignon, Served with Pan Roasted Fingerling Potatoes and Asparagus. The richness of the filet is made even more decadent by the dark, silky wine. The asparagus adds freshness and crunch to the dish, while the potatoes are soft and fluffy breaks from the intensity of the rest of the flavors. The best part is the entire meal comes together in under a half hour, meaning more time to spend drinking and relaxing.
After such a rich, heavy meal, it’s best to go back to light, fresh flavors for dessert—something sweet and simple that will leave your guest satisfied but not stuffed. In terms of the Casal Garcia and Santa Margherita wine, this meant a lovely Casal Garcia Sweet Vinho Verde. When I see “sweet” on a wine bottle, I often am afraid that it will be a syrupy mess in glass. But Casal Garcia’s Sweet Vinho Verde is a different kind of sweet. With bright apple and pear flavors and honey notes and a slight hint of lemon on the nose, this is a soft, crisp wine that would be just as suited to a backyard barbecue as it would an elegant finish to a Wine Pairing Recipes Meal.
To stick with the light and fruity theme, I went with an easy make-ahead dessert that looks and tastes a lot more full of effort than it is: Strawberries Macerated in Port Wine, with Vanilla Ice Cream. The longer you let this dish sit, the better it will taste, so starting early in the day and serving whenever you’re ready that evening is just perfect. Between the sweetness of the berries, the almost chocolatey flavor of the port, and the enticing herbal aroma of the basil, this is a sweet treat that will satisfy every last taste bud before you move on to non-food related activities for the evening. Plus, with its bright colors, it’s just as much a feast for the eyes as it is for the tongue.
Between the sophisticated and irresistible flavors of the Casal Garcia and Santa Margherita wine, the simple to make yet beautiful and delicious to eat recipes, and the fabulous company, this was a date night to be remembered. If you want to recreate it yourself, grab a couple bottles at your local store, invite over someone special, and get cooking with the recipes below. I guarantee both you and your guest for the evening will be in food, wine, and romantic heaven.
Wine Pairing Recipes 1 with Casal Garcia and Santa Margherita
Scallops with Red Pepper Purée
6 large sea scallops
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 Tbsp + 2 tsp olive oil
1 Tbsp butter
1 red bell pepper, finely chopped
1/2 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp paprika
1/4 tsp ginger
1 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
Basil, for garnish
Heat 2 teaspoons of oil in a non-stick pan over medium-high heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring frequently, until the onion is translucent and just starting to brown. Add the bell pepper, and cook, still stirring, until the peppers are fragrant and just starting to soften. Add the spices and salt and pepper to taste. Cook another 2 to 3 minutes, until very tender. Add the cider vinegar, and swirl to remove any tasty bits stuck to the pan. Remove from heat and transfer to a plate to let cool.
Once cooled, transfer the mixture to a blender or food processor, and blend until smooth. Taste and adjust the seasoning if necessary. This can be done ahead and put into the refrigerator until ready to serve.
About 25 minutes before you are ready to eat, remove the muscle from the side muscle from the sea scallops (it’s that strange little bump on the side; it should peel right off). Pat the scallops with paper towels until they are very dry. Let sit on a stack of paper towels to try to remove any remaining moisture for about 15 minutes.
In a non-stick pan over medium-high heat, heat 1 tablespoon of butter and 1 tablespoon of oil. While the butter is melting, salt and pepper the scallops on both sides. When the butter is melted and the oil is hot, swirl them together to mix, and then add the scallops to the pan. Let cook, without moving them, for about 2 minutes. When you flip them, they should be lovely and golden brown. Let cook 2 minutes on the other side. Remove from the pan.
To plate, spoon a generous portion of the red pepper purée into three circles. Place a scallop on each circle. Top with a chiffonade of basil.
Wine Pairing Recipes 2
Filet Mignon with Fingerling Potatoes and Asparagus
2 5-oz Filet Mignon steaks
1/2 lb fingerling potatoes, cut in halves or thirds
1/2 lb asparagus, washed, trimmed, and peeled
2 Tbs + 1 tsp olive oil
2 tsp butter
1/2 cup water
salt and pepper
In a large pan over medium heat, heat 2 teaspoons of the oil. Add the fingerling potatoes, and shake them around to coat them in the oil. Salt and pepper to taste. Cover the pan, and let cook, stirring or shaking occasionally, for about 15 to 20 minutes, until the potatoes are getting browned and crisped.
Meanwhile, pat the steaks dry and season well with lots of pepper and salt to taste. Heat a cast iron pan over medium-high heat until very hot. Add one tablespoon of oil. The oil should heat up almost immediately, so you don’t need to let it sit long. Add the steaks to the pan and let cook for about 5 minutes a side. Turn the steaks and let cook another 5 minutes. Test the doneness of the steak either with a steak thermometer or with your finger—the steaks should be medium-rare at this point. Remove from the pan and set on a cutting board to rest, and put a 1 tsp pad of butter on each steak. The butter will melt and add lovely flavor to the steak.
While the steak rests, in the same pan, add another 1/2 tsp of oil (heat should still be medium high). Add the asparagus. Sautée, turning frequently, for about 3-5 minutes. The asparagus should be crisp and green, with a few charred brown spots where it was touching the pan. Hit it with a tiny bit of salt and remove from the heat.
Once the potatoes are almost fork tender, browned and slightly crisp, add 1/2 cup of water to the pan. The water will almost immediately evaporate, steaming the potatoes until they’re perfectly done.
Plate the steak, asparagus, and potatoes rustically. No need to get too fussy—just get it all on the plate!
Wine Pairing Recipes 3
Strawberries Macerated in Port Wine
16 oz strawberries, stemmed and quartered
1/2 cup port wine
1/3 cup basil, coarsely chopped
Mix strawberries, basil, and port in a large bowl. Let stand at room temperature, stirring occasionally, at least 1 hour and up to 8 hours. Spoon over vanilla ice cream (make sure to scoop up some of the sauce created from the berries and wine), and serve. Hope you enjoyed these Wine Pairing Recipes.