Every Saturday morning/early afternoon, I go grocery shopping. It is one of my favorite times of the week. I get to have some quality “me” time, see what’s new in food, feast on samples, but more importantly, I hit the wine stores who are also serving samples. Samples are one of my most favorite things in the world. To me, samples “don’t count” in terms of healthy eating because everything is mini-sized. Sure, I have probably had an entire meal’s worth of samples by the time I am done, but I don’t care. I love trying food and wine!
It was during one of my Saturday grocery runs that I visited a local wine shop where they were featuring wines from one specific label; Black’s Station by Matchbook Wines. They had a Cabernet Sauvignon, a Malbec, a red blend, and a Chardonnay. All three reds were delicious, but the one that I loved the most, surprisingly, was the Chardonnay. I have mentioned before that I am very picky when it comes to Chardonnay. I don’t want to feel like I am drinking butter. However, this one is different. Yes, there are buttery, oaky components to the wine, however, it is well balanced with pineapple, stone fruit, and green apple. The oaky notes took a back seat to the flavor and accentuated the pineapple and stone fruit. It is medium bodied, and the color is of a homey, rustic straw yellow. I absolutely love this wine. It is refreshing enough to drink on its own, but the flavor profile and medium body of the wine make it an extremely versatile food pairing wine. On top of that, it is only $10.99. How can you beat that?
The elementary school where I work was serving “fish and chips” the other day, and while I didn’t have any, I smelled it wafting throughout the building. My school actually has quite delicious cafeteria food. We strive to be a healthy food and serve (mostly) natural ingredients. Much of the food, the students say, is quite tasty, so when I say that the fish and chip’s smell wafted through the building, it was in a good, salivating way. Ever since that day, I had the strongest craving for fish and chips. Luckily, Whole Foods had Fresh Atlantic Cod on sale. Score! I knew what I was going to make for dinner.
I just discovered a new food blogger, Well Plated by Erin. She is a healthy food blogger that shares recipe through amazing stories and photographs. She recently had a Baked Fish and Chips recipe, so I decided to give it a try. The recipe called for cod, Panko, Old Bay, more Old Bay, potatoes, Old Bay, buttermilk, and Old Bay. Did I mention there was Old Bay? Old Bay, for those who don’t know, is one of the East Coast’s gifts to the world. It is an amazing spice blend of celery salt, paprika, red and black pepper, among other spices. It is mainly used on seafood, but you can honestly put it on anything. This Fish and Chips recipe was very easy to make. After pre-baking the potatoes on a baking pan, the fish is dredged in an egg wash, Panko, and you guessed it, more Old Bay. The fish is then placed on the same baking pan as the potatoes, and they bake the last 20 minutes(ish) together. To go with it, I made a homemade tarter sauce with mayo, greek yogurt, sweet relish, garlic powder, and some pickling juice from the hubby’s homemade pickles. (Yes…my man bakes homemade bread and ferments his own vegetables. I am one lucky gal!) Heating up some frozen carrots and green beans brought the meal together.
Old Bay and Chardonnay, like seafood and Chardonnay, are meant to be together. Old Bay, seafood, and Chardonnay? Oh baby. It was wonderful. The Panko gave the fish a really nice crunch and toasted bread flavor. Old Bay, while a substantial amount was in the dish, did not overpower, I believe due to the toasted Panko. The Old Bay was enough to enjoy, but not overwhelm. With the Chardonnay, the toasted Panko flavors were brought out in the dish, which complemented the wine well. The fish, which was perfectly flaky, had more of a pleasant, buttery flavor, even though there was no butter in the dish. This is typical in cod, where when cooked, a creamy flavor is brought out.
I was raised in Connecticut, so being a New Englander, this dish reminded me so much of home. My dad would cook “Scrod” (aka cod) in a Ritz cracker breading, though his had lots of butter in it. Not as healthy, Pops! Along with the meal, he would always have a glass of Chardonnay. I grew up with meals like this. Sadly, after 20 years in the house, my parents sold it and moved full time to Florida. Not that I am complaining, as I enjoy visiting them in Florida while my friends freeze here in DC, but from time to time, like right now, I do miss home. Without this nostalgia, the pairing would be 4 grapes. However, with the nostalgia, the wonderfulness of the dish, and the greatness of the wine, for me, this is a 5 grape pairing.