Finally back on track on cooking and posting!
Tonight, I wanted to make a dish to draw on the lessons learned from the wonderful Christmas gift from my hubby, Jennifer Simonetta-Bryan and Ken Arnone’s “Pairing with the Masters,” a fabulous book about wine and food pairing.
So I made an old family favorite, Salmon provençale.
This is a great recipe that combines tomatoes, olives, red wine, and herbs, all poured over salmon fillets and baked. We paired it (based on the book’s recommendation) with a Virginia Pinot Noir. More about that later!
You’ll need one pound of salmon fillets; anchovy paste (trust me here); 2 cups of chopped tomatoes (I used canned diced tomatoes); 1/4 cup chopped or sliced black olives; herbes de Provence, thyme leaves, and marjoram leaves; red wine; and pepper to taste.
First, set the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
Now, in a small saucepan, heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil, then add 2 to 3 inches of anchovy paste.
Stir until the anchovy paste is soft.
Now, add the chopped/diced tomatoes and olives, then pour in 1/4 cup of red wine (preferably Pinot Noir, which you’ll also serve with the meal). Then add about 3 large pinches of herbes de Provence, plus 1/4 teaspoon each of dried thyme leaves and dried marjoram leaves.
Add a sprinkle of kosher salt and ground black pepper to taste. By the way, check out the wonderful salt container that our daughter got me for Christmas — it’s perfect!
Back to the recipe. Cut the salmon fillets into four equal slices and place in a 9″ x 13″ baking pan. Check the sauce to make sure it has thickened a bit.
Now, pour it over the salmon fillets.
Cover with aluminum foil and place in the oven to bake for 25 minutes. Then remove the foil, raise the heat to 400 degrees, and bake another 5 minutes. Remove from heat and let set about 5 minutes before plating.
We served this tonight with chopped spinach and fresh pasta. Our wine was a Pinot Noir from Virginia.
In the book, Jennifer and co-author Ken talk about food-wine pairings at three levels: Level 1, the food or the wine are great, but not both; Level 2, the pairing makes both the food and wine shine; Level 3, the food and wine pairing is great but at a transcendental level, over and above Level 2.
This pairing is definitely Level 3, transcendental. The wine we served was a 2014 Afton Mountain Vineyards Estate Reserve Pinot Noir. Super wine! The wine and the dish were beautiful together, bringing out the herbal notes and the gentle fruity sweetness of both the tomatoes and the wine. (See my notes in my GoughPubs Facebook page for tasting notes!)
Really lovely! Please let me know if you try this or a similar pairing and what you think!