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Turning your favorite salad into soup and matching it with wine

December 7, 2009

We had a great time Saturday night having a new friend over for dinner. He has children as we do so it was one of those classic nights where the kids are running around having fun together while the adults enjoy a slower pace of food and wine. I love these nights because I feel the presence of our kids and we are “together” yet we are all enjoying our own version of the evening. If you are a parent you get it. If you are not a parent you are probably thinking you made the right choice. Our guest is also a huge food enthusiast which makes it even more exciting for me to cook.

The weather in LA is finally turning and screaming for some soups and heartier food. In my endless quest to “mind-taste” my way into new recipes I love the idea of taking my favorite salad ingredients and turning them into a soup. Watercress soup with shredded beets and horseradish.  I sautéed some shallots  and garlic until they softened and sweetened. I then added a few bunches of fresh watercress. After a brief simmer with some chicken stock I pureed it with a handful of blanched spinach. (Boil for a minute and chill in ice water to retain the bright green color). The spinach added a bright green color as well as a little body to the soup. I strained the soup and then added a touch of cream and put it back on the stove. The process yielded a silky texture. I shredded the purple beets and the fresh horseradish root and boiled them separately to keep their colors pure. I placed the shreds of beets and horseradish root in the bottom of the bowl and then poured the soup on top. I loved the piercing spice of the watercress cooled by the slight crunch of the neutral beet. The silky texture of the soup carried the horseradish in for another touch of heat. The watercress has a strong black pepper type spice and the horseradish has more of an earthy, mild spice. I decided to serve a Spatlese Riesling with the soup. The sweet in the wine was a nice balance to the heat in the soup. The wine’s sweetness tamed the heat of the soup and brought more of the fruit in the wine to the forefront.

It may seem like a lot of work to match your food and wine but when you do and you get the match right it is an incredible experience. The food and the wine enhance each other to create a whole new eating experience. Today’s wine/food pairing note: Sweet wine usually works well with spicy food and with sweet desserts.

We started with a crostini of haricot vert, tiny cubes of roasted fingerling potato, Marcona almonds and smoked paprika. A yeasty champagne was a great match. The main course was orange zest crepes with a filling of duck, bok choy and a sauce of cherries with star anise and ancho chiles. A Valpolicella (Northern Italy raisinated red wine blend) was a heavenly match. Carmel persimmon mousse for dessert. Food, wine, new friends and family. It’s all good! Happy Holidays and enjoy.

Eat well, Enjoy life, Be happy

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. December 10, 2009 8:21 am

    Catching up on the blog … this sounds DELICIOUS. Dare I ask what the kids ate?

    • Jeffrey Saad permalink
      December 11, 2009 10:47 am

      Hello Allison, Grilled cheese with tomato soup (and a pesto swirl) for the dipping!!!! made the adults look twice…

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