Mar 30, 2011 5:05 PM
Bisque and Wine - Let Us Drink Our Meals
Sure, roughage in our diet leads to longer, happier, and healthier lives. With that in mind, I present my case for a fresh look at a quick lunch. Truthfully, my seven daily servings of fruits and vegetables rely heavily upon a blender and a juicer. "Drinking" a meal not only improves digestion and absorption, it also offers an expedient alternative to chewing our cud twice. A good bisque or puree can easily contain all the fiber, nutrients and flavors needed for a delicious and life-sustaining repast. Feeling the need to sink your teeth into something, I suggest a nice glass of wine.
Executive Chef Scott Savage of the Cliffhouse at Pikes Peak offers many healthy and flavorful - sometimes a little more emphasis on flavorful - bisques that will reward your culinary adventures. When paired with a complementing glass of wine, the option of a healthy, tasty, and timely lunch - or a harmonious start to dinner - is easily realized.
In this article we focus on Chef Savage's Artichoke and Gruyere Bisque. A simple recipe, the Chef purees and slow-cooks artichokes with caramelized white onions and cream. After a couple of hours, Gruyere cheese is added and the bisque is seasoned to taste. Embodying a natural, fresh, herbaceous flavor, and the subtle richness and complexity Gruyere offers, this bisque is a delicate yet satisfying dish.
How best to complement our bisque with wine? Austria! Gruner Veltliner! More specifically - Gruner Veltliner from the Austrian regions of Kamptal, Kremstal, or the Wachau. Known for white flower aromas and a fresh-cracked black pepper spiciness, Gruners from these regions are typically bone-dry, with great concentration, deep minerality, and bracing acidity. Not only do the rich qualities of Gruner Veltliner complement Gruyere's salty-sweet nuttiness, the razor-sharp acidity of this grape resists an artichokes tendency to make many wines taste sickly-sweet.
Another option I have enjoyed personally: Gewürztraminer from the Alsace region of France. Again we have a wine unabashed in its tartness, with an even more pronounced floral aspect (white rose petal and honeysuckle aromas are common) and a beautiful viscosity equal to the creamy finish on many rich dishes. Look to Zind-Humbrecht or Schlumberger for go-to producers in the Alsace.
A wine and bisque lunch? Why not. The pairing I've suggested is a light, nutritious, and delicious way to change your daily routine. Truthfully, there are so many options for gastronomic pleasure it behooves us to start experimenting immediately, and never stop if we hope to try a fraction of the experiences available to us. Enjoy.