I love treating myself to a good meal prepared at home. Eating in saves money, and it also allows me to cultivate a joy for food that can only be achieved with patience and practice.
Developing a finer palate for wine is a part of cultivating that certain joie de vivre, for me. And, as a part of the Z Living 10-Day Pescatarian Challenge with The Posh Pescatarian show host Stephanie Harris-Uyidi, I've assembled a quick guide to pairing the perfect wine with your seafood dishes. This article can be used in conjunction with Stephanie's Savvy Seafood Shopping Tips as well as her FREE Weekly Meal Planning Guide.
Rule Of Thumb: Start With Dry White Wine
If you're having seafood for dinner, a good place to start is with a white wine. In general, seafood is lighter than other meats, and red wine is lighter than white wine. “Dry” means that the flavor of the wine is not sweet. These include Pinot Grigio, Chenin Blancs, and Pinot blanc. These are normally served with fish, blue cheeses, and anything with a cream sauce.
Chenin blanc are often blended and typically less expensive than other varieties. It also pairs well with salads and straightforward seafood dishes, such as flounder or halibut, striped bass, and catfish.
Note: remember that white wines are more delicate than red wines and are always served chilled.
For Fried Foods, Go Bubbly
Beer with fish and chips? Yes, please. Champaign with Crispy Coconut Shrimp? Oui, s’il vous plait. The bubbles in beer and sparkling wine cut through the “weight” and texture of fried food dishes better than flat wines.
When choosing a sparkling wine, look at the label to understand its sweetness. It ranges from doux (sweet), demi-sec (half-dry), sec (dry) and extra sec (extra dry) to brut (dry-dry), extra brut or brut naturel (the driest). Though the final choice ultimately depends on your palate and your dish, in general, sweet wines pair better with lighter dishes.
If you’re going for the bubbly, you don’t have to break the bank. A bottle of Italian Prosecco La Marca is one of my all time favorite sparkling wines, and is readily available many grocery and liquor stores stores.
To prepare, lie the bottle down on the bottom shelf of your fridge three to four hours before serving.
Choose Chardonnay For Full-Bodied Dishes
Full-Bodied Wines, like Chardonnay are a classic paired with a full-bodied dishes. Keep your chardonnay chilled, so that you do not overpower the flavor of the dish.
Selecting a Chardonnay is a fundamental challenge for any white wine consumer. Look for fruity flavors, such as pineapple, melon, lemon and pear. Other Chardonnays may include oak and wood flavors, which in my humble opinion, do not pair the best with seafood, but it’s all a personal preference. Fish & Seafood Cooking Expert, Hank Shaw, notes that striped bass, crab, raw oysters, and lobster pair well with a flavorful, oaky Chardonnay.
A great way to experiment with new wines, like chardonnay is to conduct a blind tasting the next time you are at a restaurant. Ask the server if you may taste two or three samples and order your favorite. Take note of any wine you may have enjoyed for next time.
Sip Sherry With Shrimp
Fish & Seafood Cooking Expert, Hank Shaw also notes that Dry Fino Sherry pairs extremely well with any kind of shrimp dish, steamed, grilled, stir-fried, or sautéed. Fino is the traditional dry sherry, typically bottled around 4 to 7 years.
Blush For These Unusual Pairings
If you love red, than you can pair your salmon dinner with a light one, such as a Pinot Noir. A rosé or blush wine is also great for summer, and may prove even more delicious than a full-bodied Chardonnay or Fume Blanc. Fish & Seafood Cooking Expert, Hank Shaw also notes, “when I am grilling swordfish or tuna steaks. Rose is also a good choice with a tomato-based seafood soup, such as cioppino or zuppa da pesce.”
For more information on cooking seafood, check out The Posh Pescetarian's lifestyle blog.