Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Another Wine & Food Pairing

My Garrigue Seasoning Mixture
Yesterday I wrote about the mini tarts I made to pair with a Pacific Rim Chenin Blanc. Today I am going to describe my thinking on the food pairing I made for the 2003 Domaine du Vieux Telegraphe Chateauneuf du Pape.

As I mentioned in my post on February 18th, I learned a new term when researching the flavors to pair with this Rhone / Southern France wine. While the term "garrigue" has been around for a while, I have not been reading the different wine publications as avidly as I once did, and missed ever hearing about this new descriptor. It is used to describe all the bouquet of aromas from the wild herbs that grow in that region of France. Any time a grape grows in a very specific soil and environment, this affects the grapes' flavor, and therefore the wine made from them. It is said that many Rhone wines retain some of this garrigue aroma. It was a bouquet of scents I was unfamiliar with, as a whole, and so I had never been able to detect this bouquet in a wine.
Showing long, lengthwise grain of the meat

I had drunk this particular Chateauneuf before; we had various bottles in our cellar. This time would be a brand new tasting, with this new idea in mind. I had created a sort of spice seasoning mixture I creatively called "Garrigue Seasoning." I know - not so creative, but what else could I possibly call this kind of mixture? I intended to use this dry spice mix to flavor a flank steak, with the idea to also marinate the steak in a mixture of currants, balsamic and olive oil. I dry-rubbed the meat with the spices first, then poured over the wet mixture and marinated it a full day. Once I broiled and sliced the meat, it didn't have nearly the flavor I hoped for, though it was very good, and paired well with the wine.  I believe if I were to make this again, I would dry rub the meat, possibly with even more of the rub than I used, and a little olive oil to marinate. 

Cheddar Rectangles
Other foods I chose to pair with a wine that is a blend of Grenache, Syrah and Mourvedre (GSM) were sharp cheddar and arugula, with its peppery flavors. I broiled the meat and sliced it very thinly across the grain, at an angle in order to make each slice more than double the width it would be if slicing straight down. If you have never used a flank steak, it is a very thin piece of meat. It can be a little tough because it is very lean, but cutting across the grain of the meat makes all the fibers of the meat very short, and therefore edible.

I looked for the sharpest cheddar I could find, and sliced it into 1/4-inch slices. Then I cut those slices to make them 1/4 inch widths by about 1 3/4 to 2-inches long, approximately the width of one of the slices of the steak. I got a box of baby arugula and selected  enough leaves to use 2 per steak roll. 

Garrigue Rubbed Flank Steak Rolls with Cheddar & Arugula

This makes 50 or so rolls 

1 flank steak, about 2 pounds
4 - 6 tablespoons Garrigue Seasoning (post of February 18)
3 tablespoons olive oil
Garrigue Rubbed Flank Steak Rolls with Cheddar & Arugula
8 ounces sharp cheddar cheese
baby arugula leaves

Rub the flank steak well with the Garrigue Seasoning on both sides. Sprinkle the olive oil over and rub into the seasonings and meat. Wrap well and set in the refrigerator overnight. Prepare the cheddar  by making little rectangles 1/4 x 1/4 x 2-inches. These can be cut and stored in the refrigerator until needed. Select nice, small arugula leaves.

When ready to prepare the meat, heat the broiler and set the rack on the second level down. Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil, for easy cleanup later. Set a small rack onto the foil and place the meat on the rack. Place under the broiler and broil for 6 to 7 minutes per side, depending on the thickness of the meat. When done, tent with foil for 15 minutes before slicing. 

When ready to cut the meat, set the steak with the length of the grain crosswise in front of you (as shown in picture). Hold a sharp chef's knife or carving knife at a 45 degree angle. Slice at this angle, creating thin slices, much wider than if slicing straight down. These lengths of meat will need to be cut into 2 or even 3 pieces each. The length needs to be just wide enough to roll around the cheddar and arugula leaves, crossing enough to insert a toothpick to hold them in shape. 

When serving these with a good wine, always try to serve slices of bread along with, as the bread helps to absorb the alcohol. It becomes very difficult to taste and rate a wine when a few sips make you tipsy. I served these flank rolls with little slices of bread, brushed with oil and broiled lightly. The meat went well with the Chateauneuf du Pape. We also smelled the garrigue seasoning and them smelled the wine, and found that these smells were definitely apparent in the wine's bouquet. Hurray!

My passion is to teach people how to create a harmony of flavors with their cooking, and help pass along my love and joy of food, both simple and exotic, plain or fancy. I continue my journey in ethnic and domestic cuisines, trying new things weekly. Join me at A Harmony of Flavors Website and Marketplace, Tumblr, Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest. I am also on a spiritual journey and hope you will join me at my new blog, An Eagle Flies.