Story and recipes by Debbi Snook | Wine Commentary by Gary Twining
Photo by Beth Segal
Grilling season is no longer limited to summer, especially during COVID-19 times. Besides, embracing outdoor cooking now also will allow us to gear up for the day when we can host larger-scale, guilt-free backyard gatherings again. It’s always a fine time to make merry with the flames.
Learn to make those flames work for you in preparing a prized hunk of meat, trio of vegetables and a fire-licked dessert. The secret? Learning when to put your food atop the raging heat for an appealing char, or just off to the side of the hottest coals or burners, where the more moderate heat, and smoke, will cook it more slowly and help you control the outcome. The first bite will make it all worthwhile.
Gary: I love to grill throughout the year, in all kinds of weather, and especially with a glass of wine in my hand. Foods prepared on the grill acquire wonderful tastes. Remember to prevent your grilled fare from excessive or extensive charring, as this will bring out bitterness in both food and wine. The grill also brings out the umami character in meats, suggesting that round, soft, supple reds, as well as aged wines, can pair exceptionally well with grilled poultry and red meats.
A grill can flame-kiss peaches and bring out their plushness. After cooking other parts of the meal, scrape down the grates for the final, easy course. Find amaretti cookies in Italian import stores.
4 firm but fragrant, nearly ripe peaches, halved and stones removed
12 amaretti cookies, crushed
1 cup whipped cream
2 TBS ice wine
Oil up the cut side of the peaches and place over medium heat on the grill. Let them sit until grill marks appear and they are easily lifted. Flip and cook longer if the peaches are still firm. Place two halves in each dish, top with crushed cookies, whipped cream and a drizzle of ice wine. Serves 4.
Gary: While this course can be served on its own, why not add a dessert wine, since it’s already part of the recipe? Any wine in a similar style — Malaga, Moscato (in all its different styles and concentrations), Sauternes/Barsac and botrytised late harvested wines — would be lovely. Don’t forget a moderately-sweet Riesling, such as a Spätlese or Auslese level from Germany.