Wine and Eggs — Incredible, edible, and pairable

This weekend marks the beginning of spring, and our favorite way to celebrate is to eat the traditional foods of Nov Rooz, the Persian New Year.  Last year we described the holiday and gave you a fabulous recipe for chicken in a sauce of walnuts and pomegranate (you all made that, didn’t you?)  This year, we’ve got a recipe for Kookoo Sabzeh, a dish that’s basically a frittata with lots of fresh herbs in it.  Eggs are the perfect food to symbolize rebirth, and the herbs emphasize freshness and newness.  It also doesn’t hurt that it’s an easy dish to make and absolutely delicious.

Of course, being in the wine business, we want to give you a wine pairing.  We read a lot about wine, as you can imagine, and a lot about pairing wine and food.  There are a few foods that always seem to stump the experts for wine pairings:  artichokes, asparagus, and eggs.  (Chocolate sometimes makes the fourth, although the majority of the discussion there is why you’d bother trying to pair the two when each reaches perfection individually).  We think the issue for eggs is that when they’re simply cooked, eggs have a rich feel to them, but a subtle flavor.  When you think of highly flavored egg dishes, they often contain other flavorful ingredients.  It’s true that those other ingredients can enhance the essential egg-ness of the eggs, but you end up pairing for flavors other than eggs.  By and large, eggs mask the flavor of many wines.  And with those that aren’t drowned out, the reverse happens — what you’re left with is an impression of richness of the egg rather than the actual egg flavor.  That’s probably why the experts say not to bother.

But you know we don’t give up easily.  For simply flavored egg dishes, a light- to medium-bodied wine that isn’t too rich or too acidic can set off the eggs nicely.  For the kookoo, that advice still holds – but with all the herbs, you can also pick a wine that has some essential herbal qualities to it.  The kookoo has two other ingredients that make it great with wine:  fenugreek and currants.  The flavor of fenugreek is hard to describe (sometimes we think it smells like mushrooms, other times grasses and herbs), but you’ll definitely know it’s there, and it adds a real depth to the dish.  The currants add a floral hint and some sweetness.  Both have an affinity for wine, so they increase your range of choices.

If you’re having the kookoo as the main course, try Château de Clapier White:  on the lighter side, a little crisp, and a little earthy.  Or Cave la Romaine Rosé Tradition, light and fresh, to set off the herbs and the currants.  If you’re serving the kookoo as a course in a more traditional Nov Rooz meal (and we hope you are), try Domaine Chaume-Arnaud La Cadène Blanc – the Viognier in the wine picks up the floral qualities of the herbs and currants, and also sets off the traditional Persian flavors in your other dishes.  And finally, if you want to be really bold, serve the kookoo after your main course with Les Secrets du Château Palvié Doux 2002, a not overly sweet dessert wine that complements the richness of the eggs and can then carry over to your dessert course too.

No matter what you plan on eating this weekend, we want to wish you a very happy Nov Rooz and send our wishes for a happy spring!
Bon Appetit! 

Tom and Cy

Kookoo Sabzeh 

This fresh herb and egg dish is similar to a frittata.  Have it for lunch or as a side dish with dinner.  Serves 4-6.

eggs: 8
salt: 1 tsp
black pepper: ½ tsp
fenugreek: dried, 2 tsp
olive oil: 3 tbsp (+ more to coat skillet)
red currants: dried, 1 tbsp
spinach: frozen, ½ cup thawed
scallions: fresh, ½ cup finely chopped
parsley: fresh, ½ cup finely chopped
cilantro: fresh, ½ cup finely chopped
dill weed: fresh, ½ cup finely chopped

In a small nonstick saucepan over medium heat, combine the fenugreek and 3 tbsp olive oil.  Heat until the fenugreek is dissolved (less than a minute), making sure no lumps remain.  Take off the burner and stir in the spinach.

In a large bowl, whisk the eggs, salt, and pepper.  Then whisk in the spinach mixture and currants.

Gently stir in the four fresh herbs: scallions, parsley, cilantro, and dill weed.

Generously coat bottom and sides of a 10-inch nonstick skillet with olive oil.  Heat the skillet over medium heat for a coule of minutes.  Pour the mixture in and cook over medium heat for 3 minutes, then reduce the heat to the lowest setting and cook for another 10-15 minutes, until the egg is fully cooked and the kookoo has puffed slightly.  The bottom will be browned but shouldn’t be burnt.

Take the pan off the heat and let the kookoo cool in the pan for 15 minutes.  Cut into wedges and serve warm or at room temperature.

1 Response to Wine and Eggs — Incredible, edible, and pairable

  1. Pingback: Think globally — and maybe get our government to act globally, too « Vine Art … from the palate of first vine wine online

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