The best documentary I have seen in a long time......

Friday, 24 June 2011

Salsa Verde

Salsa Verde!
Continuing the thread from Tuesday’s blog I thought I’d give you a recipe for this uber versatile dressing! Have it on Steak, Fish, Salad, Antipasto, or a topping for Crostini. The provenance of Salsa Verde is to be found in the Piemonte region of North West Italy where it too takes on the form of a multi serving condiment where it may lighten the hearty meat stews of the mountainous region or just as easily play a part in pepping up a light zuppe!
Here goes, I welcome all amendments and complaints from the Italian community on the correct assemblage of this recipe. But, this is my interpretation and I think it’s fairly legit.
You will need:
            Bread crumbs, half a stale old bread roll minced up in a food processor
            White wine Vinegar, Good quality! To add flavour not pickle your dish
            Caper berries, Big’ns with the stalks still on in good white wine vinegar, 20
            1 Garlic clove
            Black Pepper,
            4 Anchovy fillets
            A bunch of Parsley, from your herb garden perhaps
            Olive oil

Soak two table spoons of bread crumbs in one table spoon of white wine vinegar and set to one side. Chop up Caper berries in to rough slices, removing their stalks. Do the same for Anchovies and Garlic.

Next, Grind up a tea spoon of Black Pepper corns in to a pestle and mortar (If you don’t have one just use a mixing bowl and pepper grinder. (do not blend or food process) Add capers, Garlic and Anchovies and mush it all up a little leaving a little texture. Then add three to four table spoons of white wine vinegar and your bread crumbs, add these in slowly, if it looks like it’s getting a bit busy and dry in there you’ve over done it! The crumbs are merely to thicken a little. Give it a little mix and then you can add a bunch of finely chopped Parsley. Finally add three to four table spoons of olive oil and stir in well, the mixture should emulsify.

Your final Salsa should be a loose, glossy consistency (a bit like our mint sauce) ready to brighten up many a dish.

And now for the liquid element.

Being true to Piemonte you might try a Gavi, a fruity and aromatic white wine from the region, the best displaying mineral notes and tangy citrus finish. Or, Roero Arneis, again a scented dry white wine justly matched to such a style of cuisine.
Alternatively, let’s go for something else with the word Verde in it. Yes that’s right Vhino Verde! A classic, especially if you’re planning on sea food with your Salsa. Portuguese and found south of the Minho river which forms the frontier to neighbouring Spain. This wine is light with bright acidity to dual it out with your Salsa, the best are made from Alvarinho (Albarino) and if we were to skip across this Minho river border we would find our self in Galicia Spain. More precisely the wine producing region of Rias Baixas. And what do they do best in this neck of the woods? Albarino, more weighty and fleshy then your Vhino Verde and with riper fruit but just as good a match as any of the above.

If you’re off on a shopping spree this weekend, pop in to Waitrose and pick up these little beauties. There is a 25% off 6 deal at the moment so all you need to do is choose yourself two more on top of my four hot recommendations.

Malvira- Roero Arneis                                £10.99           
Arelia Prima-Provence Rose                    £7.99             
Quinta de Azevedo-Vhino Verde              £7.29             
Gavi Araldica                                               £5.99             
A well as these, look out for Mont Tauch Fitou. (More on this next time!)
For the Northern Contingency, your local Waitrose is at Eldon Square, below the entrance to John Lewis from the Northumberland Street entrance.

Happy wining and dining


Tuesday, 21 June 2011


HI and welcome to my splendiferous Vinous and Gastronomous blog page, aiming to share and revel in the wonderful world of Wine and Food.

First up, On the Menu tonight at Chateau Gastro-Vin.

Pan fried Hake with warm salad of roasted beets, blanched tomatoes fennel and herbs. Drizzled with Salsa Verde. Served with a delicious Chateau Fontvert Luberon-reserve rose. Food Is partly inspired by my local market and the salad inspired by Mr Jamie Oliver. Wine, a classic match to any Med' infused dish offered by Oddbins R.I.P.

Simply roast those beets (40-50 minutes) like you would a jacket potato and allow to cool. Once achieved, liberate them from their jackets and place in a serving bowl. Next, Blanche your tomatoes to remove the skin and place with your beets. You should be starting to get a lovely bleeding of colour. Next up is delicately sliced fennel bulb, tossed in to the salad. Allow to mingle and become aquainted prior to serving when you will dress with fresh garden herbs (to your liking, lemon thyme, basil or mint works well) extra virgin olive oil and salt.

Your hake should be filleted in to nice long meaty pieces. simply rub with oil, pepper and salt before frying in a pan fro 8 minutes. If you want to make a difference you will crush a garlic clove, chili, and a sprig of thyme in to the oil to season the pan prior to cooking your fish.

You should know the drill, rest your fish on some paper towel before tentatively arranging along side your salad and enjoying with the most beautiful of people in your life. Yummers! (don't forget that Salsa Verde, buy it if you can't be bothered to make it)

So why does this work? OK, Hake is a meaty fish and deserves some substance in that salad-hence beets to balance texture and weight. all you're doing next is building flavour that complement each other. Bright Acidity of tomatoes cuts through the meaty texture of beets and Hake and creates a foundation for lifted aromatics of herb and a contrast in the form of fennel. Simple! The drizzle of Salsa Verde bridges the void on the plate between fish and salad and pulls flavours together, Anchovies and caper from the fish and parsley and white wine vinegar for tomato and garden herbs respectively.

The final dimension to any meal for me is the lubrication!

Luberon rose.

Simply put, from the South of France. A region that sits between Provence and the Rhone and makes suitably similar wines to its neighbours. This wine is typical in its assemblage of Grenache, Syrah and Mourvedre. White grapes are permitted to by blended with red in this region to produce rose but this particular producer is obviously quality conscious and sided with the respectable method of saignee (bleed from the press). What evolves is a crisp rose wine with enough acidity to rumble with strong acids in the food from tomato and salsa verde. the body carry's a creamy texture that floats over the palate with the firm hake and beets along side. Fruit flavours of strawberry that have been dipped in black pepper herbal spicy notes and citrus pink grapefruit combine with similar nuances in the salad if not adding higher peaks of flavour to the combined dish. An excellent rose but sadly one that you will have to search for as it was purchased from the former off-licence chain Oddbins. In my opinion, ask your local purveyor of fine wines to put you on to a good Provence rose or Luberon if they stock it. perfect for the summer season and even better with a dish like this!


Love David.