Wednesday, 4 April 2007
There was an interesting article recently in the New York Times, about cooking with wine. I have to confess, I had no idea it was quite such a rarified subject - and I'm not entirely sure my memory agrees with that of the journalist who wrote the piece, with regard to the advice given by the late-great Julia (Child). Journalist has Mrs Child advising that a 'good' wine should be used for cooking, and the image is conjured up of serious consideration being given to which precise vintage from the Child cave was going to be solemnly opened for the purpose. In practice, my memory of l-g-j's approach was that you should chuck in a generous glassful of pretty much whatever you had on the go at the time (which, in her case, was never going to be undrinkable plonk, anyway!), and that should do nicely. I recall somebody telling me of attending a recording of her show on one occasion - when in fact, a number of shows would be recorded back-to-back in the course of an entire day - and by the end of the process, Julia was comfortably pickled. The ensuing incident in which a duck carcase flew from her grasp right across the kitchen and her remark that she was grateful to have a 'self-clean floor' gave rise to such a flood of eager enquiries about the supplier of such floors that the following week she had to issue a shamefaced acknowledgement that her remark had actually been 'ironic'. Oh, well.....
In short, on the cooking-with-wine front, I entirely agree with the verdict that vermouth should generally be used when a recipe calls for white wine - more economical, in general, and the flavours are nicely complicated - and I can see little point in buying especially 'poor' red wine to cook with. After all, as the cook, you're more likely than not to want 'Cook's nip' as kitchen work progresses, and why on earth would you condemn yourself to something you'd never have bought to pour into a glass in the first instance!
Roast Beef (Mrs Kafka's method - succulent and caramelised), with Carrots roast in Duck Fat.
Tartes aux Citron.