Classic Pairings for the Veggie Soul: Pairing One

Our resident herbivore Ellen Clifford is back, but instead of discovering the perfect shower wine (each to their own), she searches for the perfect veggie alternative to popular meat and fish focused food and wine pairings. Throughout this series, Ellen breaks down the components of classic dishes and offers vegetarian alternatives that echo the flavors, textures and acidity that make them pair so well with certain wines. Enjoy Ellen's veggie twists on classic pairings! ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ The lion’s share of classic food and wine pairings are not vegetarian. If anything, vegetables like asparagus are maligned as being tricksters that will make your wine taste like garbage. When I do see people try to make substitutions for meat, it almost always ends up being some sort of mushroom thing. Which is great. I love mushrooms. But I wanted to get a little more creative. I tried to break down for you, for me, and the non-meat consuming public at large, what it is that physically, philosophically and what the heck, spiritually, make classic pairings work. A lot of time it is the protein level of a dish, but it occurred to me that a sauce completely changes how the main protein affects the wine. So I focused more on the flavors that accompany the classic pairings than replacing the protein itself. Before beginning I just want to remind you that the only pairing that actually matters is rosé and French fries. My kingdom for a bottle of Bandol and a fried potato. The acid, the salt, the heat and savory chill of a gently sweating glass of pale fuchsia wine…I desire nothing more. But I understand you are a human being with your own yearnings I cannot understand, so I got to researching. One more thing--I will admit I’m not tackling vegetarian/vegan wine in this column. While no animal product remains in wine, some are fined with animal products like egg whites. I will tackle this topic eventually I promise, but in the meantime if the wine is unfined it is likely it evaded animal products. Bon appetit, sweet ones. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ CLASSIC PAIRING INFLUENCE #1: MUSCADET AND OYSTERS Veggie Solution: Eggs on Half-Shell, adapted from “The Vegetarian Epicure” by Anna Thomas This is a “what grows together goes together” pairing. Muscadet is a wine made from the Melon de Bourgogne grape in the Loire, right by the ocean from which the oysters are presumably being wrested. I considered that oysters are sometimes breaded and fried. I wanted a dish that would pair well with the high acid out Muscadet and give the physical satisfaction of digging something out of a shell. These eggs are fiddly but worth it. Also a gazillion times easier than learning to scuba dive, chartering a boat and diving for your dinner. Recipe: • 2 eggs, hard-boiled • 2-3 Tbsp. unsalted butter • chopped parsley • freshly ground black pepper • sea salt • bread crumbs or panko Carefully tap a circle lengthways around the eggshell, then use a knife to split. Gently scoop out the insides of the hard-boiled egg into a bowl. Ideally you’ll end up with four perfect half eggshells but don’t fret if one gets too damaged to use. The others will just get extra filling. Add 1-2 tablespoons of butter to the bowl with the eggs and use a fork to mash until you’ve formed a paste. Mash in parsley, salt and pepper to taste. Gently stuff the mixture into the eggshell halves. Dip the tops of the stuffed shells into a bowl with fine breadcrumbs or panko. Heat a little butter over medium heat and place shells, crumb-side down into the pan. Sauté until lightly browned. Garnish with parsley, pour that Muscadet and eat up!

André-Michel Brégeon

Gorges Muscadet de Sèvre-et-Maine Melon de Bourgogne 2004

A touch of oxidized yellow apple, reduced acidity consistent with prior bottles, nice light mineral mid-palate, hint of salinity on the medium-long finish. — 2 months ago

Jason, David and 15 others liked this

Domaine de la Pépière

Muscadet Sevre et Maine Sur Lie Melon de Bourgogne 2017

Underripe peach, tart lemon, and green apple. Faint white flowers, savory herbs and peppery greens. Yeasty (sur lee m) and salty. High acidity yet low body. Great entry level Muscadet :) — 7 months ago

"Odedi" and Severn liked this

Domaine de la Pépière

Clos des Briords Cuvée Vieilles Vignes Muscadet Sèvre & Maine Melon de Bourgogne 2016

Classic. Balance of clean and crisp tart fruit, sea spray, wet chalk, lees. Round, zippy, everything I want in Muscadet — 2 months ago

Amr, David and 2 others liked this

Domaine de la Louvetrie (Landron & Fils)

Amphibolite Muscadet de Sèvre-et-Maine Melon de Bourgogne 2017

Classic muscadet, great QPR, wish I had it alongside oysters 😋⚡️🍋 — 4 months ago

Amr, Keith and 19 others liked this

Domaine de la Pépière

Monnières-Saint Fiacre Muscadet Sevre et Maine Melon de Bourgogne 2015

Really cool juice. More texture, round, minerals, lemon, cream, then the acid hits. Interesting pine/herbaceous accord on the finish. Stunning. — 2 months ago

Alsu Shakirova
with Alsu
Keith, Trixie and 4 others liked this

Domaine Batard Langelier

Polaris Muscadet Sèvre et Maine Melon de Bourgogne 2017

Acidic and salty Muscadet. Straightforward and excellent — a month ago

Severn liked this

Domaine de la Pépière

La Pepie Muscadet Sevre et Maine Sur Lie Melon de Bourgogne 2017

Best bang for your buck. Perfectly paired with oysters and crisp seafood. Bright acidity with creamy balance. Light ABV which makes a great aperitif — 4 months ago

Château de la Ragotière

Selection Vieilles Vignes Muscadet de Sèvre-et-Maine Sur Lie Melon de Bourgogne 2016

Staying up late attempting to find a vegetarian sub for the classic muscadet + oysters pairing. Life could be worse and so could this. So much lemon, so much seashell nahhhh this is just a glassful picnic lemonade on the damned beach. Pairing coming soon. But tell me what you’d eat with it? — a month ago

Aaron, Mark and 17 others liked this
Ellen Clifford

Ellen Clifford Influencer Badge Premium Badge

@TheSkip i know! Yeah there things as a vegetarian I doubt there is an adequate substitute for...
David Clinton

David Clinton

But you can eat oysters? Paella at least needs mussels...
Ellen Clifford

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@David Clinton I don’t eat any meat or seafood! I’ve heard arguments about some shellfish being actually vegetarian but...I’m not there yet. But could I make a highly spiced rice dish with things like marinated tempeh and chunks of hearts of palm maybe? With saffron and smoky pepper?

Jermaine Huchet & Jermaine Mourat

Goulaine Muscadet Sèvre et Maine Melon de Bourgogne 2012

BOMB. Nose of anise, wintergreen, birch bark, rain-on-slate. Tastes of that fresh minty herbaceousness with salinity, freshness, roundness and grace. I think muscadet has some of the best wines in the world, and dollar for dollar, is unstoppable. 2012 and fresh as sea air in winter. Could age three decades. — 2 months ago

Severn liked this