I never really thought about it before, but what Fiona Beckett of Matching Food & Wine says about salmon rings true. Salmon is sort of like the “chicken of seafood” in that it can be cooked a hundred different ways, and be delicious every time. With so much diversity, are there any guidelines for pairing salmon with wine? In this article, I’ll share three very different salmon recipes, along with my wine recommendations.
Pairing Salmon with Wine: The All-American Salmon on the Grill
We’ll start with an easy one. If you know how to light a barbecue, you can grill a beautiful piece of salmon. I recommend the salmon steak cut, as it is a little “beefier” than the filet, although it has more bones. Simply shake a little of your favorite fish rub, or lemon juice over it, and grill. Let the salmon be star of your meal, so keep the sides simple: baked red potatoes with rosemary, and salad. For this you’ll want a substantial white, like an oaky, full Chardonnay, or a light-bodied rosé. If your salmon spices run bolder, like a Louisiana Cajun rub, a Pinot Noir or Merlot would be a good, heftier match.
Pairing Salmon with Wine: Ginger Salmon
Salmon is great with an Asian twist, and ginger, scallions and soy sauce turn salmon into an Asian All Star. Poach a couple of salmon filets in soy sauce and water (to taste). Julienne slice about 8 ounces of fresh ginger root and two bunches of scallions, and cook these together in another pot over low heat in more soy sauce and peanut oil for about 8 minutes. When everything is cooked through, garnish the fish with the ginger and green onions and serve over Thai noodles or Basmati rice. I would serve a coconut-laced slaw salad with this. As for the wine, I reflect back to the super-sweet Chinese restaurant plum wines, and while I would never recommend them here, a less sweet wine would balance the salty spices really nicely. I recommend a Gamay (Beaujolais) for its cherry and sweet banana tones, or a Riesling if you’re going white. A semi-seco sparkling wine or champagne would also work well, as it would tone down the heavier soy and peanut oils beautifully.
Pairing Salmon with Wine: Salmon Burgers
I found this recipe on Matching Food & Wine, and while Fiona suggests a lager accompaniment, I would like to recommend a drier wine, like a Sauvignon Blanc, especially if you serve this with a sweet side dish, like yams or carrot soup.
I’d love to hear your favorite salmon recipes and wine pairings.