Great Grape Recipes: Chardonnay Carrots and Riesling Raisins
At the new Partake by K-J in downtown Healdsburg, chef Justin Wangler uses grapes in every imaginable way.
They’re in the glass, for the wine-paired small plates menu concept that showcases Kendall-Jackson bottlings. They’re in the coq au vin, as flat noodles made from red wine flour and tossed with chicken, pearl onions and carrots in a thick, savory reduction. They’re in the Syrah grape skin flour pork buns, and in the divine Gulch rabbit sausage with slivers of sweet peach, tart pickled ramps and microgreens on grape mostarda.
They’re even in the two kinds of bread fresh-baked from Whole Vine Chardonnay and Syrah grape skin and seed flours, paired with Chardonnay grape seed oil. The flavors are unexpected, but entirely delightful.
It’s no surprise that we love our grapes in Sonoma County, and as harvest gets underway each fall, we’re surrounded by the delicious bounty. Whether you raid your own vineyard or shop at a farmers’ market, there are plenty of creative ways to celebrate the pretty fruit. Grapes are great in salads, gently roasted with chicken or fish, dropped in gazpacho, and added to nearly any dessert.
Here are some more elaborate ideas from Kendall-Jackson chef Justin Wangler:
Chardonnay Verjus Glazed Carrots
Verjus is the unfermented, pressed grape juice from unripe grapes. You can make your own, or purchase it at specialty groceries. Here, the honey in the glaze brings out the sweetness in the carrots, while the acidity in the verjus heightens the flavor.
2 lbs. large carrots, rinsed and peeled
1 cup Chardonnay verjus
½ cup honey
2 Tbsp. unsalted butter
2 tsp. kosher salt
1 cinnamon stick
1 bay leaf
1 bunch chives, minced
Slice carrots, keeping a consistent ½-inch slice throughout. Heat a large sauté pan over medium-high heat. Add the verjus, honey, butter, salt, cinnamon and bay leaf. Whisk to combine. Bring the glaze to a simmer, add carrots and stir with a wooden spoon. Once the mixture returns to a boil, reduce the heat to medium and cook for approximately 12 minutes, stirring often. The glaze will thicken and reduce while the carrots cook. Remove pan from heat and sprinkle with chives.
Buttermilk Panna Cotta with Riesling Raisins
Tahitian vanilla bean scented buttermilk complements the subtle spice notes found in K-J’s Vintner’s Reserve Riesling. The Riesling soaked raisins and pine nuts add a nice textural element to this dessert.
3 sheets gelatin
2 cups cream
½ cup sugar
1 vanilla bean, split & scraped
2 cups buttermilk
2 cups Riesling
2 Tbsp. honey
1 cup golden raisins
2 ounces pine nuts, toasted
- In a bowl, add gelatin sheets and cover with ice cold water. Allow to sit until softened.
- In a sauce pot, combine the cream, sugar and vanilla bean. Bring to a simmer and remove from heat.
- Squeeze out the water from the gelatin and add gelatin to cream mixture. Add buttermilk and stir to combine.
- Strain and pour into 8 (4-ounce) ramekins or other desired container. Refrigerate until set.
- In a small pot, combine wine, honey and raisins. Bring to a simmer and cook 5 minutes. Remove raisins from liquid and reserve. Reduce liquid to ¼ cup. Allow to cool and combine with raisins.
- Top each panna cotta with 2 tablespoons of the raisin mixture and sprinkle with ½ tablespoon pine nuts.