Just the sound of it evokes an air of adventure, perhaps even romance: “cooking with wine.”
But if you’re planning to spend some quality time in the kitchen this weekend, be aware that there’s more to it than simply splashing some wine into the pan you’re using to fry or cook a main dish.
Here are a few dos and don’ts to help assure a successful cooking-with-wine experience…
DO: Use wine instead of water when you want to add a unique additional flavor to a dish.
DON’T: Use a tannic wine such as Cabernet Sauvignon because, when reduced, it’s likely to leave a flavor that’s more bitter than wine-like.
DO: Use a wine with well-balanced acid, such as Pinot Noir or a lighter-bodied Merlot. Acidity helps to lift the flavors of many foods, just as vanilla lifts the flavors of baked goods.
DON’T: Use “cooking wine,” which can be found in most supermarkets. A vast majority of such products are packed with salt, so you’ll end up with very salty food, which is next to impossible to match successfully with wine.
DO: Use the wine you intend to drink with the meal. Much of its flavor will burn off in the cooking process, but it’s still better than using a different wine that may possess and retain non-complementary flavors.
DON’T: Drink all the wine while cooking. You lose “style points” when you don’t share.