Lobster and Icewine – a pairing made in Canada
January brings to mind two Canadian delicacies that, when paired together, create a culinary experience unlike any other – lobster and Icewine.
This month we are celebrating all things Icewine. While lobster season is more than a few months away, it is the perfect time to stock up on tails, as they are a great buy after the holidays. It is also possible that you might have some Icewine lingering after entertaining this season as it is largely enjoyed on special occasions.
Ironically, up until the mid-19th century, Lobster was considered a mark of poverty, as it was a primary food source for indentured servants and lower members of society in Canadian Maritimes. Apparently, it was commonly served in prisons, much to the displeasure of inmates.
Legend also goes that servants even specified in employment agreements that they would not eat lobster more than twice per week.
In contrast, Icewine has historically been known as a premium sweet elixir. It is a rare wine that is produced in only a few countries by letting grapes freeze on the vine, then harvesting and pressing while frozen. While it originated in Europe, Canada has perfected the process and is the only country in the world that has a unique set of climatic conditions to allow for the production each year.
Icewines are traditionally enjoyed after a meal with dessert or cheese but we only need to look to France to see how sweet and savoury can pair beautifully together. Sweet Sauternes are more often served at the beginning of a meal with fois gras. The sweetness of the wine is a lovely contrast to the savoury, and the richness in both balance perfectly on the palate.
The same can be said for the combination of Icewine and a creamy lobster bisque. Both are rich and creamy, complementing each other, and the saltiness of the soup is a lovely juxtaposition to the sweetness of the wine. In the below recipe, I used Icewine in place of sherry, giving you the added depth in the pairing as the flavours are echoed throughout.
Try this divine pairing and raise a glass to two iconic Canadian delicacies.
Icewine Lobster Bisque
Makes four servings
4 lobster tails, meat removed from shells and poached in white wine
1 large shallot, finely chopped
3 sprigs fresh thyme
2 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp butter
1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup Vidal Icewine
1/3 cup tomato paste
1 cup heavy cream
6 cups lobster broth (recipe follows)
Crème fraîche and chives, for garnish
Sautée shallots and thyme in olive oil and butter until shallots are translucent. Add flour and create a rou. Once thickened, deglaze the pan with Icewine and whisk until combined. Now add lobster broth continuing to whisk until boiling and flour thickens. Turn down the heat and add tomato paste and cream. Whisk until combined. Serve and garnish with chopped lobster meat, a dollop of crème fraîche and chopped chives.
Boil shells with carrot, celery, onion and 2 tbsp Knorr Vegeta for 45 min and then drain broth for use in bisque.
Niagara Flavours by Andrea Kaiser
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