I feel the need to start by pointing-out that this was a pretty-special pairing. If you’ve never actually taken the time to prepare one of the recipes featured in these food and wine pairings, I suggest you start right here!
I will say that I’ve never actually taken the time to marinade steaks overnight before. I’m pretty old-school when it comes to how I usually cook my steaks, namely; liberally coating them with garlic salt and black pepper before throwing them on the grill, and cooking them to a rare temp. Done! What I can say is that the extra prep time taken here (which really wasn’t very much work at all) really helped to tenderize the meat more than I had anticipated. However; the gorgonzola, bacon and shallot butter was actually the shining star of this dish (besides the wine of course, but we’ll get to that in a minute)…
Truth-be-told, you’re ideally supposed to make the butter a few hours ahead of time, in order to give it time to set. But I guess early signs of Alzheimer’s must be setting-in, as I completely forgot to make it! So I frantically started whipping all the ingredients for the butter together, threw the mix onto a sheet of wax paper, folded it into a small rectangle, and gently but hastily) placed it in the freezer.
Normally you would just let this set in the fridge, but it was starting to get late, so time was of the essence! Luckily the culinary-Gods must have been watching over me, because when it came time to melt the butter on the steak (a mere 30 minutes later), the butter had already set!
The thing that I really like about this butter is that if you don’t eat it all, you can simply wrap it back up in the wax paper and throw it in the freezer to preserve it for use another time. Give it a shot! The recipe is at the bottom of this post.
Almond oil and honey. What do the two have in common? Well, it happens to be my latest and greatest way to prepare carrots, and it’s extra-specially easy!
Simply peel the carrots, chop them into short “batons”, throw them into a roasting pan, drizzle with almond oil, honey, salt and pepper, and roast at around 350F until golden and caramelized. What’s easier than that!?!?
If you can honestly tell me that they aren’t the best carrots you’ve ever tasted, you’re either a liar or you have the palate of a dog!!! Ok, maybe that’s a little strong! I’m sorry. I just really like these carrots, alright…?
Before I get into the wine-review side of things I would like to start by saying that I’ve been losing faith in Napa recently. Shock and horror, I know!!! For some reason, I’ve been tasting even more Napa Cab’s than usual, with the results being …..well….underwhelming. I can’t say if it’s just the evolution of my own palate, or “something else”. I just haven’t tasted much that’s inspired me!
Everyone knows that you don’t have to spend a lot of money to get a decent bottle of wine; but in Napa, I’ve started to think that isn’t really the case! If you’re looking to get a better idea of what Napa really has to offer, I really do think that you need to be willing to shell-out a little more cash.
Lucky for me, the Fiftyrow Cab is full of inspiration. Yes, the wine is a little-more premium at $49 retail, but I challenge you to stand it against some of the “big boys” from Napa that are twice the price! I could name-names, but that wouldn’t be very nice now would it!?!? (NB: ask me in private, and I’ll tell you…)
The wine is actually 100% of the grape, which might come as a surprise for some people to learn isn’t common-practice in Napa Cab’s i.e. using 100% of the grape.
Usually, other grapes such as Merlot and/or Cab Franc et al. are blended in to either “mellow-out” the wine, or just add another layer of complexity. Fiftyrow choose not to, I’m guessing on the basis that they stand behind the quality of the grapes sourced from the little-known Morisoli and Lewelling Vineyards, and they don’t need to add any “seasoning” in the form of other grapes.
The Fiftyrow Napa Cabernet 2007 showed dominant dark berries, plum and fruitcake, beautifully rounded-out by tea leaf, bitter-sweet chocolate, tobacco, and an interesting toasted-coconut character (probably from the 24 months in French oak).
The best Napa Cab I’ve tasted for some time. Good-to-go now, or I could see potential to cellar for another 10 years. 440 case limited-production and available from Fiftyrow.com.
1 stick unsalted butter, lightly softened
1 cup gorgonzola
½ cup pan-fried bacon
2 large shallots, chopped and caramelized
½ cup Port wine
¼ cup balsamic vinegar
2 tsp salt
1 tsp freshly ground pepper
1. Whip the butter until smooth.
2. Add the rest of the ingredients until blended together.
3. Remove from the bowl and roll up in a sheet of parchment paper or plastic wrap.
4. Place on a baking sheet and refrigerate until firm (or freezer if you’re looking to do it in a hurry).
5. Place a small slice on each steak before removing it from the grill to begin melting the butter and serve immediately.
New York Strip Steaks
1 cup Cabernet or similar full-bodied red wine
3 cloves garlic
1 Tbsp cup Dijon mustard
1 fresh ground pepper
2 Tbsp chopped parsley
2 Tsp chopped fresh thyme
½ cup olive oil
¼ cup balsamic vinegar
3 tsp salt
1. Blend all ingredients together in a food processor.
2. Place steaks in shallow tupperware bowl or Zip-loc bag; pour marinade over the steaks and marinade overnight.
3. Remove steak from marinade and grill. Serve topped with gorgonzola-shallot butter.
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