The most important rule while cooking with wine: If you can drink it, you can cook with it. Many people think that expensive wine should be saved for drinking, while the cheap, not-so-good wines should be reserved for cooking. What they forget is that when you cook/reduce the wine, you are intensifying its flavours. So if your wine tastes good as it is, the same will taste good when cooked.
I use wine, red or white, to make a sauce for a main dish. One of my favourite sauces is a mushroom red wine sauce that I serve with roast chicken and mashed potatoes. The earthy mushrooms and the robust wine go well together and lend the dish a very bold flavour. This time around I had a bottle of Fratelli Chenin Blanc that I had to use in cooking any dish.
Fratelli Chenin Blanc Facts –
Grape Varietal: 100% Chenin Blanc
Tasting notes: Silky smooth and medium-bodied, the fruit is reminiscent of peach and lime with mineral accents. The crisp acidity balances the slight residual sugar to create a dry impression, coupled with a silky texture. Not overtly complex, but carefully constructed and well balanced.
Served cool at temperatures between 8° – 12°C.
When I think of cooking with white wine, a simple prawn dish does it for me. It was a sunny afternoon and cooking with fresh prawns and a glass of Chenin Blanc for company was a perfect setting. It literally takes a couple of minutes to cook this dish. If you are expecting guests, open up a bottle of wine, set up a cheese platter, and get this delicious prawn dish ready.
All the ingredients needed for this dish will be readily available in your pantry. That is half the work done. The beautiful prawns get a sweetness from the garlic and a citrusy hit from the wine. Some Capsico sauce adds additional sourness and heat to the dish. Overall, it is a dish savoured with a chilled glass of wine.
Garlic Wine Prawns
Prawns – 250g cleaned and deveined
Fratelli Chenin Blanc – ½ cup
Olive Oil – 2 tbsp
Garlic – 1 ½ tbsp sliced
Parsley – 2 tbsp finely chopped
Capsico sauce – ½ tsp
Salt – to taste
Extra virgin olive oil to garnish
In a frying pan, heat up the olive oil and add the garlic. Gently cook the garlic without burning them. Cooking it gently browns the garlic and makes them sweeter. Once they look lightly brown, add the prawns, salt and capsico sauce and toss together. Cook for a few seconds and add the wine. Keep stirring and cooking on medium heat. At this point, the alcohol cooks off and leaves behind the citrusy flavours of the wine behind. Add the parsley and cook for a minute more. Take it off the heat and drizzle with good quality extra virgin olive oil. Serve with crackers and cheese platter.