It might seem like the kind of cooking only the ultra fancy chefs on cooking based reality TV shows get up to, but cooking with wine is a great way to add some unique flavors to your food. Many a chef will swear by the efficiency of wine as a fat substitute for their recipes, with many preferring to use wine as an ingredient in the meal, as opposed to an accompanying beverage.
Fats in a food are a source of moisture, contributing significantly to the flavor of the food. Substituting fat with wine can not only reduce the overall calorie count, but also contributes a unique flavor to the meal. The trick remains in the pairing of the foods to be cooked and the wine to be used.
The following are some of the most popular ways of cooking with wine:
Adding flavor to fish: Simmer, poach or drizzle the fish with wine for a fat-free and tasty twist.
Marinade: Wine tenderizes the meat, adding flavor while keeping the meat moist while cooking.
Baking: Some cakes can use wine instead of fat to lighten up the cake and add more flavors.
The limits of using wine are present only in the chef’s imagination, however, it can be easy for those inexperienced in cooking with wine to go overboard and end up overpowering the other ingredients in the meal. The following guidelines can help you in cooking with wine:
Use the flavors in the wine. White wines can add flavors similar to melons, apples, pineapples, pears, citrus fruits, caramel, olives, vanilla, and even mushrooms. On the other hand, red wines can introduce a berry, peach, currant, plum, cherry, orange flavor to the meal as well.
The first thing to be kept in mind when cooking with wine is, only use wine which you would drink. Using a rare vintage might not be the best idea since a significant amount of cooked wine evaporates. Avoid cooking wines since they mostly contain salt and cannot be consumed otherwise.
The general idea while cooking with wine is to subtly enhance the foods original flavor and not completely overpower it. There are a few rules of thumb to help you figure out which type of wine would go with which type of food.
Generally, the rule of thumb is to use white wine for foods which have a light texture and flavor like light sauces, seafood, soups. Red wines go better with heavier meals like meats, stews. A dash of red wine to a light meal can add a unique flavor twist, but care must be taken that even a small amount can overpower the original contents.
The last tip is of course to use your imagination. Try different combinations and maybe you can come up with a unique flavor that many will enjoy.