Well, time for another installation of Wine School, a series that I’m following from the New York Time’s wine writer Eric Asimov. Each month, he will recommend a wine and explain what to taste for while drinking it. I’ll try my best to tell you what I think of the wine and recommend a recipe to go along with your experimental bottle. This week, the wine is Beaujolais, a French wine meant to be drunk young that Mr. Asimov didn’t have a food pairing recommendation for because it supposedly goes with everything. I made a really simple spring meal of pork, carrots and peas.
Let’s start with the part of the meal I actually understand: the pork. I was super pleased with this recipe, and not just because it came from Bobby Flay. It hits all the main tenets of the Bachelor’s Test Kitchen: simple, tasty, cheap. All you need to do is mix lemon juice, lemon zest, garlic and some kind of oil together, then marinate your pork loin in that for one to four hours. This would be great on the grill (Bobby’s recommended method #obvi), but I seared it on the stove and finished it in the oven. It was still great. For the side, I mixed together some frozen peas and carrots cut into ribbons with a vegetable peeler. It looked cool, but I wouldn’t recommend this. The little round peas and big carrot ribbons were not easy to eat at the same time. If you cut your carrots like this, just use them for a salad. I did, however, feel like a genius for how I cooked the peas and carrots: after boiling the peas (according to the package instructions), I poured the hot water over the carrot ribbons while straining the peas. This gave me nice, al dente carrots without having to cook two pots of water. I felt like Einstein while doing this.
As for the wine, I actually got one of the wines prescribed by the New York Times! It wasn’t the same year, because no one’s perfect, but I have a feeling that matters less with Beaujolais. I bought the Jean-Paul Brun from 2012 for $26, which is somehow more expensive than the wine bought in NYC and also out of my normal price range. I found this wine to be very drinkable, with an almost salty characteristic. It’s very dry, but doesn’t have the tannic mouth-feel of some other reds. It went well with the pork, with enough body and flavor to stand up to the very garlicky marinade. This is a fantastic wine if you’re not sure what to get or you don’t know what you’ll be eating, but I’m not sure it’s worth almost thirty bucks. Okay, here’s my recipe for the pork:
1 3-4 lb. pork loin
4 garlic cloves
Zest of one lemon
Juice from half of a lemon
1/2 cup vegetable oil, plus one tablespoon
Salt and Pepper to taste
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. In a blender or food processor, combine the garlic cloves, oil, lemon zest and juice. Blend to combine. Pour the mixture over the pork in a non-reactive baking dish or ziploc bag. Let it sit for 1-4 hours in the fridge.
- Heat an oven-safe skillet over medium-high heat. While it warms up, remove the pork from the marinade and season it with salt and pepper to taste. Sear the pork on each side until nicely browned, about 5 minutes each side. Move the skillet to the oven for about 10 minutes, or until the internal temperature of the pork is 145 degrees.