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Cooking with Chardonnays

chardonnay grapes

Chardonnay grapes image from wine.appellationamerica.com

After my pleasant Chardonnay experience in early March, I decided to try my luck at incorporating a few Chards into my recipes.  To my delight, many of my dishes turned out quite well.  First of all, I used some splashes of Chardonnay on pan-fried salmon, covering both sides.  This proved delightful, especially when a creamy parmesan cheese sauce was drizzled over the top of the fish.  Next, I sprinkled some Chardonnay over a few chicken breasts I later coated with bread crumbs and baked.  This, too turned out to be quite yummy, and the Chard complimented the light taste of the chicken perfectly!

The following day, using up some trout in the freezer, I submerged the fish in Chardonnay for 15 minutes, then stuffed it with bread crumbs and sprinkled some dill on top.  Topping the baked fish with melted butter and a pinch of salt was the icing on the cake!  Lastly, I substituted some Chardonnay for half of the butter called for in a much-loved crab cake recipe.  The result was a bit curious at first; however, after adding a few drops of lemon juice atop each cake the rich interplay of flavors made for quite a delight! 

When deciding with Chardonnay to use in your food, consider the following: old world Chards can be either rich or light.  Make sure you use light ones when cooking less-rich dishes so you don’t overpower your dish.  New world Chardonnays are grown in areas that are warmer, and they tend to taste more rich, ripe, and oakey.  Full-bodied wines like these work best with dishes requiring richness, like anything with thick, creamy sauces. 

I hope this post inspires you to take a wine you may not be as familiar with and experiment with it in your cooking.  If you get hooked on cooking with a specific wine, but don’t want to feel pressured to finish the bottle each time, consider investing in a Vintner Wine Dispenser System or other wine preserver–they will keep your half-bottle fresh much longer than just recorking.

Have you experimented with a new variety of wine in your cooking? Tell us about it!

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