The sparkling life encompasses the whole table, not just the glass, and we believe the right food paired with the right wine makes both better. Explore some of our culinary experts’ favorite wine-loving recipes that will make your occasion sing.
This hors d’oeuvre is an eye-catching display of black caviar set on a miniature bed of onion-laced deviled egg. Each tiny quail egg sits snugly on a little round brioche toast and requires only a pinch of caviar to complete the picture. They are easy to serve to dinner guests upon arrival or to a circulating cocktail crowd, and may serve to prompt some lively discussion, too. Popping a little egg into your mouth and washing it down with a glass of chilled sparkling wine makes a stunning equation on the palate.
These tender veal cheeks will practically melt in your mouth. They are easy to prepare and, once in the oven, pretty much take care of themselves. An added benefit is that they are well suited to entertaining late-arriving guests. Once the meat and the purée have cooked, they can be kept covered at room temperature for up to an hour or so if necessary. Just quickly reheat them on the stovetop or in a microwave prior to serving.
This refreshing crab salad is a wonderful starter that also makes a stunning first course or main course for a light lunch. At the restaurant, our chefs typically use sweet, meaty Dungeness crab, found throughout California’s coastal waters, but if you can’t find Dungeness crab, any fresh crab will do. Keep in mind that most fishmongers sell cooked fresh crab that has been picked from the shell—a serious timesaver for the home cook. Crunchy fennel provides a delightful contrast to the crab, and the tangy rhubarb—macerated with strawberries and Madeira wine—offers an earthy flavor to marry with the seafood.
In this recipe, meaty duck breast is flanked by two fabulous sides: a wonderfully light-textured, turnip purée topped with sweet, buttery carrots, and lemony leeks that balance the rich, savory duck. For best results, prepare this dish in the order it is presented, prepping all ingredients in advance. It’s easy to reheat the purée and carrots prior to serving.
In this colorful dish, crisp, browned quail sit atop a nest of pearly white pasta flecked with green, wilted arugula, copper-colored bacon bits, and dark figs—all garnished with bright orange zest. The smoky bacon, sweet dried fruit, and tangy zest serve well as a backdrop for these small, meaty birds.
These delicate fish fillets rest on a comely bed of black rice and are coated with a lemony butter sauce. The dish is quite easy to prepare but requires some attention when finishing off the fish and the rice simultaneously. Striped bass fillets are light and flaky when cooked properly, but they will fall apart and become mushy if overcooked. Use the freshest fish you can find. You can substitute any other light-textured fillet, such as rock cod or petrale sole.
These fluffy-light cheese puffs are dangerously easy to eat. A perfect finger food for entertaining, they could also be called cheese bubbles, because their interiors are filled with air. Not surprisingly, they pair quite well with their bubble-filled liquid counterpart—sparkling wine. Gruyère cheese, made in the French and Swiss Alps, is a semi-hard, aged cheese with a nutty quality. In the absence of Gruyère, other semi-hard cheeses such as Cantal, Asiago, or white Cheddar would make delectable substitutes.
This is a refreshingly different salad that holds myriad flavors in its bowl. Asian pear and fennel lend a slightly exotic note, highlighted by crunchy Spiced Pecans. If you can’t find the firm, mild Asian pear, substitute a Bosc pear. Make the pecans in advance; they require 15 minutes in the oven and about the same amount of time to cool down. You’ll have extra nuts, which you can use for snacks or to serve guests as a simple appetizer on their own.
This fragrant, refreshing summertime soup offers an appetizing mix of colors in your bowl. Copper-toned, striped tiger shrimp are topped with pink pickled onions, all neatly framed by a green-hued gazpacho filled with fresh vegetable flavors. Tomatillos, or Mexican green tomatoes, are easy to find in most supermarkets today, and add a savory but bright, melonlike quality to dishes. Peel away their papery husks, if still present (some stores remove them for you), and use warm water when rinsing to help dissolve the sticky film on the skins.