How to Select Wines for Cooking

Tuesday, July 31st, 2007 at 12:00 am

wine bottlesThere are now quite a number of delightful recipes that have wine as a primary ingredient in cooking. Quite a number of fine dishes today make use of a variety of wines in order to create more delightful culinary masterpieces that have that extra tickle on the palate. Just the right amount of good wine can enhance, intensify or balance the flavors of different dishes. But there are some issues to consider when using wine as an ingredient to any fine recipe.

Moderation is the key

One issue that every cook should consider is that wines are used to provide some added unique flavor to the dishes. The wine should be used as a complement to the combination of flavors. It should not serve to overpower or replace the inherent flavors that come out with cooking a fine dish. Moderation is the key to keeping the wine as a key ingredient. Too much or too little wine will serve no other purpose to improve the dish. Stick to what is needed and don’t go overboard.

What type of wine?

Another issue to consider when using wines for cooking is usually what type to use. There are some recipes that call for a certain type of wine of a certain vintage that looking for such a wine can be enough to discourage any cook. So what can be done if the wine called for is nowhere to be found? Well, the only common solution to this is to know what type of wine is being used on the dish. If it is red wine, then any other red wine that you can find would be a good enough substitute. If it calls for a white wine, then a good quality bottle of wine would suffice.

When cooking using wines, it is important to note that most professional cooks abhor using so-called cooking wines that one may be able to get at the supermarket. Aside from being made out of cheap and thin base wines, they also contain additives that would not give justice to the flavor of the dish. Most cooks recommend using only wines that would be good enough to drink. If you need wine for your cooking, choose one that you would love to drink.

What to do with the leftover?

Another issue that will crop up when using wine for cooking is the proper storage. Cooking dishes usually would only require a small amount of wine. If you open up a bottle, what would the cook do with the leftovers? A common solution would be to finish up the bottle of wine after the right measure for cooking has been used. But finishing up a bottle may be too much for some people. Another alternative is to close the bottle up immediately after being used and place it in the refrigerator. This would be most ideal method for storing dry white wines for cooking. It would give you about a couple of weeks more to finish up the wine before being rendered useless.

As for red wines, it would be wise to use the smallest bottle available for cooking purposes. This way, not too much of the wine may be left behind. A good tip would be using single serve wines that are now available in stores so that only a little would possibly be wasted or eventually turn to vinegar. For others, price may be an issue when using wines for cooking. This should not be. The price of wine should not be a hindrance especially if fine quality wines are being called for in a dish. There are always more affordable substitutes if you only look hard enough. An inexpensive bottle of the right wine would do just fine to serve the purposes required for cooking.


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