Check out our two amazing recipes below!
This dish is very simple and very indicative of the Italian culture. Much of Italian cooking, in the home not in restaurants, is done with a mixture of this and that, whatever is local and available. I have prepared this many times at home, especially when feeding a lot of people at short notice. Do your best to use FRESH ingredients, it makes ALL the difference in cooking.
Feeds 6 people
- 2 pounds WILD CAUGHT Cod, never use farm raised fish
- 28-32 ounces of chunky tomatoes (I use boxes of POMI)
- 1 bunch of FRESH Basil – half chopped, half rolled and sliced
- 3-6 cloves of garlic – Diced
- 8 ounces of Kalamata olives – pitted and diced
- 1-2 tablespoons of Capers
- 1-2 large lemons – juice and set aside (real lemons – NEVER buy lemon juice)
- 1-2 cups white wine
- Preheat oven to 450 degrees (always cook on high heat)
- Cut cod into pieces that make sense for a single serving, place in 2” high baking pan
- Add ½ wine, ½ lemon juice, drizzle with olive oil and salt – put on side
- In large sauce pot, coat bottom with Olive Oil, sauté garlic on high heat for a few minutes until starts to turn color just slightly (not too much, if they burn, throw out and start over)
- Add olives, capers, ½ of the wine and ½ of the lemon juice, sauté for 2-3 minutes
- Add all tomatoes and all of the Chopped Basil, cook while stirring slowly, until tomatoes hot
- At this point if you like hot pepper, add a few shakes of red pepper flakes
- Pour tomatoes mixture over the Cod, put in oven, cook for about 15 minutes
- You need to start checking the fish 10 minutes after putting in oven, it should feel firm to the touch and just a little bouncy. When ready it should flake apart, should not be mushy.
- Once ready, remove from oven, sprinkle top of fish with remaining rolled and sliced Basil
- Asparagus sauté with shallots, lemon, salt and pepper
- Crisp Romaine lettuce salad with olive oil, balsamic vinegar, lemon, salt, pepper and basil
Tile Fish (can be any firm fish)
I used tile fish, filleted, because it is a firm meaty fish, grouper also works well. This recipe and set of pictures shows a 3 pound fillet. We were feeding 6 people.
The fish was fresh and wild caught. If you make less than 3 pounds, reduce recipe accordingly.
3 lbs filleted fish, meaty such as tile or grouper
Full bunch of fresh parsley, chopped
4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 lemons and 1 lime
Salt and pepper
1 cup white wine
2 pints grape tomatoes, sliced in half lengthwise
Preheat oven to 450 degrees
Lay fish skin side down in deep baking pan
Drizzle olive oil over fish, enough to coat top, rub into fish with hand
Sprinkle salt over fish lightly, same with pepper
Rub all garlic over top of fish with hands, spread evenly
Spread tomatoes over top of fish
In a bowl whisk together 2 fresh squeezed lemons, 1 lime, cup of white wine and few table spoons olive oil.
Drizzle mixture over top of fish, lightly, don’t let liquid push garlic off top
All excess liquid will just fill pan
Spread all parsley over top of fish and tomatoes
Drizzle a little more olive oil over top
Put in preheated oven, cook about 15-20 minutes then check if done
Touch thickest part of fish, it will be firm but bouncy or cut into middle, should be white and flaky
Roasted vegetables with olive oil and fresh herbs and lemon
Steamed broccoli, sautéed with garlic, olive oil and lemon
Braised Skirt Steak
Start with making a marinade. Mine was very simple, onions, peppers chopped very fine, garlic, olive oil, red wine vinegar, hot sauce and wine (your choice white or red). First salt the meat, kosher salt, both sides. Then place in baking pan. Next chop the onions, garlic, peppers, etc…and mix in bowl with whisk or spoon. Once mixed, pour over the meat in the baking pan. Cover pan with plastic and put in the fridge overnight. If you don’t have that kind of time, a few hours will work.
Preheat the oven to 300 degrees and put steak in the oven. Check the steak after 40 minutes with a meat thermometer. Remove from over when it is rare and let sit in baking pan for 10 minutes, then slice and serve.
Lamb Sausage & Broccoli Rabe
There is a wonderful sausage which most people have never heard about or tried. It is called Cervelatte in Italian, but there are other spellings and pronunciations in French and German, but the Italian sausage is special. It is predominantly made from lamb and is in a lamb casing. Most sausages, even if not pork, are made with pork casing, but this has a lamb casing.
This sausage is so absolutely perfect! It is a little fatty, as is lamb usually, but cooks to a perfect crisp on the outside and just plump on the inside. It grills up on a BBQ perfectly or on a skillet on the stove.
During the summer I use the BBQ but in the winter I use the stove top. It is so simple, just turn on the stove, heat the pan, place in the sausage, which usually come wound in a wheel and grill. No need for oil or seasoning, it is perfect all alone.
The perfect vegetable with this sausage is broccoli rabe, another very Italian food. This is in the broccoli family, but is slightly bitter, which is what gives it the perfect flavor. Start a pot of salted water to boil. Cut the bottom 2 inches off the plant then blanch in the boiling water for 3 – 5 minutes. Remove and put in colander to dry. It should sit for at least an hour but the longer the better. In a skillet, saute some garlic, olive oil and sundried tomatoes or red peppers. As you saute add the broccoli rabe and cook for at least 10 minutes. Once broccoli rabe begins to soften, it is ready.
Place the broccoli rabe on a platter and the sausage on top. Serve immediately with Vignetti Montepulciano d’Abruzzo. Montepulciano is produced in Abruzzo, a region in central/southern Italy in the mountains. This meal is a typical meal of this region and of course will pair well with this wine.
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In continuing our series on the various wine regions of the world, especially those related to the wines we carry we wanted to include a quick segment on the classification of Bordeaux Superieur.
Bordeaux Superieur is a classification of certain wines made in the Bordeaux region. Just like regular Bordeaux these are blends, with the reds being predominantly Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot with smaller amounts of Cab Franc, Petit Verdot, Malbec and even some Carmenere. For the whites Sauvignon Blanc and Semillon are favored with smaller amounts of Muscadelle, Ugni Blanc, and Sauvignon Gris.
Under the strict guidelines of French appellation law for a Bordeaux to be classified as Superieur it must come from a vineyard that is planted more densely. There must be 4,500 plants per hectare with a distance of 2.2 meters between rows, compared to 4,000 plants per hectare with a distance of 2.5 meters between rows for regular Bordeaux. This higher density makes it harder for the plants to survive creating stronger deeper roots, and healthier vines for the ones that do.
This produces a lower yield, about 10 percent lower per hectare. The grapes must also be picked riper at harvest with higher natural sugar levels resulting in 10 percent natural alcohol level compared to 9.5 percent for regular Bordeaux.
Bordeaux Superieur can be found anywhere in Bordeaux but is bias towards the area north of St. Emilon and Pomerol. The result of the differences usually creates a superior wine with a richer and more complex flavor.
$19.99, now $15.99
When you’re talking about boutique wines, it doesn’t get much smaller than this merlot. With only 350 cases produced each year, this wine is just about as boutique as it can get. The small production and high quality also stand as a fantastic representation of what New York State wine is fully capable of. Styled and inspired by the Right Bank of Bordeaux, this wine can be rightly compared with the wines from that region. Long Island, just like the right bank, provide a perfect environment for Merlot, Malbec and Cabernet Franc to thrive side by side. The wine is thusly styled after the greats of Bordeaux, also includes Malbec, Cab Franc, and Petite Verdot.
All of the grapes were hand-harvested and macerated whole after destemming, soaking for 2 days before beginning fermentation. The wine was aged for 15 months in 25% new French Oak and the balance in seasoned French Oak. Tasting Notes are as follows:
aromas of plums, bing cherries, and a hint of licorice. On the palate, the wine is medium-bodied, with elegant tannins and bright acidity.
Onabay Vineyard is a new name on the North Fork of Long Island, but it has a long history. The 18-year-old vineyard is part of a larger, historic farm located on Peconic Bay that is owned by the Anderson family. Brad Anderson is committed to producing small lots of hand-crafted wines with the help of winemakers Bruce Schneider and John Leo. The focus is on Cabernet Franc and Merlot with Cot (Malbec) playing an important role in blending. The North Fork’s climate moderating waters and Onabay’s well-drained soils of sandy loam, gravel, and clay provide exceptional conditions for producing fresh, balanced wines with minerality. Onabay’s goal is to achieve a pure expression of these conditions in their wines.
On March 17 we all pretend we are a little Irish. We wear green and “Kiss me, I’m Irish” pins. It is also the day where drinking Guinness, green beer and Jameson is the norm and corn beef and cabbage is served in every restaurant.
The Irish are well known for their great beer and fantastic whiskey, which pair well with corn beef and cabbage, but what about wine? There are no wines to speak of that are from Ireland, so we need to look elsewhere to find wines to pair with our traditional St. Patrick’s day fare.
The first question to ask is: How is your corn beef and cabbage prepared? Is it boiled in traditional fashion, or is it roasted with herbs, in a new creative fashion?
Boiling corn beef and cabbage is the traditional method of cooking, and with this stew-like method, the flavors of both the beef and cabbage meld together. The challenge of pairing wines with this dish is finding something that will stand up to the fatty meat, and work well with the cabbage at the same time.
The chefs of the world are always coming up with new and innovative ways to cook traditional fare, and corn beef and cabbage is no exception. One of my favorite ways that I have seen this dish evolve is an oven-roasted corn beef, encrusted with garlic, herbs and dijon mustard, paired with sauteed cabbage. This gives the dish a new flavor profile, more robust and flavorful meat, and sweeter style cabbage, so now we would want to pair it with different wines.
CVNE (Compania Vinicola del Norte de Espana) is a well known and historic winery in the Rioja region of Spain. CVNE has been around since the late 1800’s and is still owned and run by the same family that started it all that time ago. They have expanded over the years and now own three separate wineries in Rioja. All three integrate their traditional roots with modern techniques to create exceptional wines that exemplify the terroir in which they are grown.
CVNE’s Vina Real vineyard is located in the Alesia sub-region of Rioja, they released their first vintage in 1920. The wines
from Vina Real showcase the fruit forward wines of Alvesia, all while maintaining structure and balance. While I enjoy all of CVNE’s wines the ones from their Vina Real vineyard are my favorite, and I find the best, as far as value and overall enjoyment is their Rioja Crianza. The wine is full of great intensity, flavors of the red and purple fruit shine thru with toasty vanilla notes to add complexity. It is well structured with lingering fruit and well-integrated tannins, with a long finish with nice acidity.
CVNE, while now a larger operation, has remained true to its roots as a boutique winery. I highly recommend all of their wines, for they are a great value and beyond enjoyable.
Onabay vineyard is a family owned farm, and winery located on the North Fork of Long Island. The surrounding waters of the Peconic Bay and Long Island sound create a warm, unique microclimate similar to that of Bordeaux. Onabay Merlot, Onabay Cabernet Franc, Malbec and Onabay Chardonnay do exceptionally well there.
The Anderson family, owners of Onabay Vineyards care a great deal for the land they farm and the wines they produce. This makes Onabay the definition of a boutique winery, with limited production and great thought and care going into every wine that they make.
This is the reason that we here at VinoVin decided to carry some of Onabay’s wines. We love family-owned winery’s that create exceptional wines at a good value.
Tres Palacios is a family owned winery that is located in the Cholqui sector of the Maipo Valley, Chile. They make a number of fantastic wines, my personal favorite is their Family Vintage Cabernet Sauvignon.
This 100% Cabernet Sauvignon comes from the oldest vines in the Tres Palacios vineyard. These vines produce low yields, which in turn makes great grapes with tons of character. The grapes are hand-picked and fermented in stainless steel vats. The wine is then aged in French oak for ten months, then another year in the bottle before release.
The wine exemplifies the terroir in which it is grown, with fresh red fruit and spice on the nose, followed by raspberry and strawberry on the palate. The finish is smooth with nicely integrated tannins and earth. The use of French oak complements the wine, adding structure and elegance.
Tres Palacios Family Vintage Cabernet is a great example of a boutique wine, and a great value at $14.99. The first time I tried this wine I was completely blown away with the quality, and complexity that came from this reasonably priced bottle. Anyone who likes California Cab’s is sure to love this wine, and at half the price of comparable wines.