I recently hit somewhat of a cookbook jackpot at my local free bookstand. Someone had passed along their well-loved, dog-eared collection of gems, including a 1943 edition of Irma Rombauer’s The Joy of Cooking, Mollie Katzen’s Moosewood Cookbook, and even a spiralbound copy of Mountain Cooking and Adventure by the community of Montrose, Colorado (which by my initial count has at least four different recipes for prairie dog). I was most delighted to find a copy of Richard Olney’s Provence: The Beautiful Cookbook—it is quite beautiful indeed. As I thumbed through its pages, a recipe for Marinated Fennel caught my eye… Three big bulbs had arrived in my local CSA box that week. As the days get longer and the evenings warmer, I’ve been reaching for chilled reds a lot lately. A cool glass of Gros ‘Noré Bandol rouge will be delicious alongside the freshly cooked fennel’s zesty, anise-hinted flavors. I then flipped to the index in search of the V section, thinking of the venison steaks wrapped up in my fridge. There’s no mention of the word anywhere in the book, and I wondered, Are there no deer in Provence? Luckily, Irma has a whole section on venison in The Joy of Cooking. She recommends a simple marinade, and says, “Venison may be prepared in as many ways as beef and much in the same manner. This meat is an unusual treat and the addition of wine, spice, mushroom, cream, etc., seems in order to make a super dish of a super meat.” The Gros ‘Noré will be a good match for the venison, too, bringing out the tender juiciness of the flame-grilled game. With Richard and Irma to guide me, I got to work on my marinade-themed menu. Marinades can make all the difference in the world when it comes to enhancing the flavors of your dish, from fennel to venison to prairie dog. The same can be said about wine. Selecting a match for your meal is a skill that takes time to develop, but once mastered, can provide endless pleasure at mealtime. Here we’ve put together a collection of marinade-friendly wines to pair with all your summertime fare, along with some suggested pairings for you to try.
Marinade de Fenouil (from Richard Olney’s Provence: The Beautiful Cookbook; used copies available here) 2 lb fennel bulbs; bouquet garni; 1/2 lb pickling onions; 4 cloves garlic, crushed; pinch of fennel seeds; pinch of coriander seeds; 1/2 teaspoon peppercorns, coarse salt; 5-6 tablespoons olive oil; juice on 1 lemon; 1/2 cup dry white wine
Remove outer stalks of the fennel bulbs. Reserve any feathery, green leaves. Split the bulbs into quarters lengthwise. Place the bouquet garni in a flameproof earthenware casserole pan. Arrange the fennel, onions and garlic in the pan, wasting no space. Scatter over the dry seasonings. Pour over oil, lemon juice, white wine, and enough water just to immerse the contents. Bring to a boil, cover and cook at a gentle boil until the fennel is tender but still firm, about 25 minutes. Discard bouquet garni and pour contents of the pan into a terrine. Let cool and serve at room temperature, or cover and chill before serving. Chop reserved fennel leaves and scatter over the top before serving.
Here at Kermit Lynch Wine Merchant we don’t believe in selling anything mediocre, and we would certainly not put our name on a wine we didn’t believe in. So our values are just that, wines that are full of value and quality.
Frédéric and Daniel Brunier are the fourth generation of their family to farm the land of Châteauneuf-du-Pape. In recent decades, they have brought their intricate knowledge of the various terroirs of the southern Rhône to new heights through the expansion of the holdings. Their properties represent a vast variation of soil types, climatic conditions, and grape varieties.
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