Working with sponsors is a great way to exercise creativity within the bounds of parameters someone else has set for you. Our most recent collaboration at 37 Cooks is a partnership with The Wine Dive in West Palm Beach, Florida – and it involved creating a main dish that included a protein, a starch and a vegetable, as well as incorporating wine in some way.
I’ve always loved how some foods add dramatic colour to others – berries and beets, for example, with their potent dyes, will leave their mark on whatever they touch. And since red wine shares that sometimes wonderful, sometimes distressing staining capability, it wasn’t too far of a stretch to decide upon a red wine risotto.
A traditional red wine risotto typically involves Barolo, but I had it set in my mind that this would be the perfect opportunity to use some quail I had saved in the freezer – and Barolo is much too bold. I researched, agonized, asked some friends on Twitter – and ended up with a 2008 Montecillo Crianza la Rioja – still full-bodied, but lighter than a Barolo would have been. Brightened up with some 15 year-old balsamic vinegar and accented with matchsticks of sweet, crunchy Anjou pear, tart pomegranate arils, and bitter arugula leaves, it was a wonderful match for a pan-seared quail, stuffed with garlic and thyme and rubbed with grains of paradise and allspice.
Get the recipe here.