Trying Something New

That is definitely a curious title for a food blogger because we are always trying something new.

This week, I am doing something I haven't done before. I am making two distinctly different dishes to test - or show off - the versatility of one wine.

The wine is Pétale de Rose, a rosé by Régine Sumeire of Château La Tour de l'Évêque. You have seen wines from this family before on this blog When I made OystersRockefeller and the Parfait of Sweetbreads. The château says this rosé makes for a good apéritif, and goes well with all variety of seafood, chicken, pork, and goat cheeses - plus spicy foods.

The two dishes I am making for this wine are almost opposites. One is new to me: Persian Roasted Salmon, which I saw in the New York Times recently. The other is my mother's rack of lamb, with some updates. Today you will get the fish recipe, and I’ll post the lamb recipe in a couple of weeks.

I chose to make something far from Provençal - even far from French or European - for this week’s pairing.

Why? Because when I mention Provençal rosés to some people, they instinctively ask me about Provençal food. While I have plenty of great French recipes and ideas, it made me realize that they were "profiling" rosés, and that just isn't fair.

Rosé wines can be terrific pairings for all variety of cuisines, from the obvious French, to close-by Italian and Spanish, Asian cuisine, and Middle Eastern, as we see today with this Persian recipe.

The dish is full of complex flavors, such as tart barberries, slow cooked onions, tangy tamarind, sweet almonds, and a mixture of herbs. No real hot spice, as one might think, but a marriage of unique and diverse flavors, which worked beautifully with the wine.

On the other hand, the lamb recipe is also really a great pairing. In fact, my guess is that there are many pairings for this great wine. To read more about the wine, see my post on the Provence WineZine.

In the meantime, enjoy the warmer weather and raise a glass of pink!

~ David

Persian Roasted Salmon
Minimally adapted from a recipe by Louisa Shafia

3/4 pound salmon fillet, skin removed
kosher salt
freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup dried barberries, also called zereshk
1 tablespoon olive oil, plus extra
1/2 white onion, sliced thinly pole-to-pole
1/4 cup slivered almonds, coarsely chopped
2 tablespoons tamarind concentrate
1/3 cup mixed chopped soft herbs (basil, parsley, chives, mint, dill)
wedges of lime, for serving
chopped fresh chives and parsley, for serving

Cut salmon into serving pieces and season well on both sides with salt and pepper. Place on a plate and set, uncovered, in the refrigerator for 1-2 hours.

Place the barberries in a bowl and cover with hot water; let macerate for 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a medium skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion and cook 5-7 minutes until they begin to brown. Adjust the heat to low, and continue cooking onions until well browned, 15-20 minutes. Add drained barberries, almonds, tamarind, and chopped herbs, and mix well. Set aside to cool.

Preheat oven to 375°F.

Lightly oil a baking sheet. Place salmon pieces, skinned side down, on the baking sheet. Top with the barberry and onion mixture, then drizzle with olive oil.

Bake for 10-12 minutes. Remove from the oven, transfer to serving plates, sprinkle with chopped chives and parsley and serve immediately with lime wedges.

Serves 2. Can easily be doubled.

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