Pairing of the Day: October 25-29, 2010
New York City's Torrisi Italian Specialties uses only American ingredients in virtually all of its dishes. Its basil-rich eggplant parmesan, also delicious on a toasted roll, calls for Progresso Italian Style bread crumbs and SarVecchio parmesan from Wisconsin.
Pairing: Medium-bodied, cherry-rich Barbera d'Alba: 2008 Massolino.
"I may never use ground meat in my peppers again," said Fran Parisi, Grace Parisi's mother, when she tried this super-flavorful sausage-stuffed version. Another revelation: Smaller Italian frying peppers are much easier to brown in a skillet than the typical green bell peppers, and they also cook faster.
Pairing: Spicy, concentrated Montepulciano d'Abruzzo: 2007 Zaccagnini Riserva.
Pan-Seared Black Cod with Grape Salsa
Ben Towill hand-crushes grapes for this fresh salsa, but pureeing some of them in a food processor works equally well. Grapes may seem like an unlikely partner for fish, but they're very good with silky black cod fillets.
Pairing: Peach-inflected southern French white: 2009 Domaine La Suffrène Bandol or 2009 Château Massiac Viognier.
Roast Brined Chicken with Raisin and Pine Nut Agrodolce
"Brining isn't imperative," says Michael Chiarello, "but it adds juiciness." Before roasting, he rubs the brined birds with a spice mix and brushes them with butter; the flavors are even better at room temperature, making this a stellar picnic dish.
Pairing: Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir: 2007 Whetstone Bella Vigna.