Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Alchemy Challenge

The Challenge – find the best wine match for the recipe below.
The Reward - a natural high.
The Warning - food and wine matching can be highly addictive.
Warning II – the recipe is easy but it could be easier to find a match for Scarlett O’Hara than this dish. (T&C’s apply)

The Blurb
Complimentary food and wine matching can elevate the result to something quite hallucinogenic if not spiritual while a clash can make you want to fast for at least 5 hours.

I think it was Aristotle who originally coined ‘the whole is greater than the sum of the parts’ which later became the mantra for Gestalt psychology, so too with food and wine matching – it’s just more serious.

good time to duck Rhett
yin and yang
The Recipe
Pork (or Veal) Fillet with Caper sauce. It’s better with pork because the richness is cut by the sharpness of the vinegar and the Umami* of the capers. 

The Meat
500g pork fillet cut into thinish slices, lightly coated with black pepper-seasoned flour.
2 Tbsp butter
30ml olive oil

The Sauce
30 ml olive oil
¼ cup butter
½ a shallot/small onion finely chopped
1-2 anchovy fillets, rinse if salted
1 Tbsp flour
2 Tbsp rinsed capers
1 Tbsp finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
3 Tbsp good white wine vinegar
4 Tbsp water
3 Tbsp good balsamic vinegar

fresh caper berries
The Method

Flatten the sliced fillets, put them in a plastic bag – in batches – with the seasoned flour and give the bag a good shake, then shake the meat again when lifting out to give them a light coating and prevent your kitchen looking like it was hit by a flour bomb.

Make the sauce by heating the oil and 2 Tbsp of the butter in a small saucepan and slowly cook the onion without browning. When soft, add the anchovy which should quickly melt with some stirring.

After stirring in the flour for a minute or so add the capers and parsley followed by the white wine vinegar and water, stirring over low heat to lose the taste of flour and to thicken.

Meanwhile heat 2 Tbsp butter and 30ml olive oil (also stops the butter from burning) in a large frying pan and brown the meat slices for a couple of minutes on each side.

Just before serving the sauce, stir in 2 Tbsp butter and the balsamic.

The Fun
Line up your selections, let the alchemy begin.

Should it work
*Umami – the so called fifth – and most allusive – taste after sweet, salty, bitter and sour. It is savoury in nature and many claim it cannot be fully appreciated without swallowing. The word is Japanese while Umami itself is glutamic acid, a naturally occurring amino acid found in meat, cheese, broth, stock, and some vegetables like celery and of course capers. Glutamates (salts of glutamic acid) easily ionize to give the same Umami taste so are used as flavour enhancers including  monosodium glutamate (MSG) which is not as evil as first believed but what is does do is dilate taste buds so more flavour is perceived. However, it is also a sodium so should be used - if at all - in moderation.

Jonathan Snashall


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