I’ll be the first to admit that the title of this post is misleading. That’s certainly a plate in the picture, not a glass. And that cloudy pool of yellow (thankfully) isn’t white wine; it’s grape juice gelée that’s been slightly fermented.
What is true about the title, is that the eighth edition of Is My Blog Burning? is being hosted today by Donna of There’s a Chef in My Kitchen. This month’s theme is cooking with wine and spirits, so hopefully my use of grape juice qualifies, although I admit it’s a bit of a stretch. You may have noticed that the title also contains an ambiguous ‘deconstructed’ qualifier. This means that the dish has been broken down into its basic components and reassembled in a style different from the original. It also provides me with an excuse for the misleading title - the glass of white wine has been 'deconstructed' beyond recognition.
The dish I’ve chosen deconstructs white wine into its many flavours and aromas, and is adapted from José Andrés of Washington’s Café Atlantico. The pool of grape juice gelée serves as the base, and twelve flavours commonly found in white wine line the edges of the plate. Simply take a spoonful of gelée with one of the ingredients and taste.
According to Andrés, “the idea [of the dish] is to be very open to wine, without being afraid of saying or thinking the wrong thing about it. When someone says they taste lychee in a Gewürztraminer, they mean they taste some exotic fruit that they experienced at some time in their lives. The idea of the deconstructed white wine is to trigger those memories, but also to give people a reference point for flavours they may not have been able to identify before.” 1
Although I'm unlikely to make this dish very often, it’s easy and fun to make and eat, and definitely something I’ll keep in mind the next time I have wine enthusiasts over for dinner. I’ve posted my adapted recipe below, but the original recipe can be found here or in the July/August issue of Food Arts Magazine.
A couple notes on the recipe. The first step calls for freezing the grapes. This is commonly known as cryoextraction and helps separate the sweet grape juices from water, which has a higher freezing point. In the fourth step, feel free to change the ingredients to suit availability and taste.
Deconstructed Glass of White Wine
(adapted from José Andrés, Café Atlantico)
White Wine Gelée:
- 2 lbs seedless white grapes, stemmed
- ¾ cup water
- ½ tsp lemon juice
- 1 tbsp powdered gelatin (four 1.7g gelatin sheets)
- 30 pink peppercorns
- 6 small mint leaves
- 3 seedless white grapes, halved lengthwise
- 3 tsps peeled, cored, and finely diced Gala apple
- 3 tsps lemon zest
- 3 tsps orange zest
- 3 tsps peeled, cored, and finely diced pineapple
- 1 ½ tsps balsamic vinegar
- 1 ½ tsps crushed cloves
- 1 ½ tsps honey
- 1 ½ tsps grated nutmeg
- 1 vanilla bean, seeds only
Place grapes in freezer until frozen.
Puree frozen grapes, water and lemon juice in a blender or food processor. Transfer to a cheesecloth and squeeze out liquid into a strainer sitting on a bowl. Discard grape solids. You should have about 2 – 2 ½ cups of liquid. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight to ferment.
Soften gelatin with a small amount of water. Over a double boiler (or a bowl over a pot of simmering water) combine gelatin with 1 cup grape juice and stir until dissolved. Pour mixture through a strainer into remaining grape juice and let cool slightly. Place 6 small dishes on a level surface in the refrigerator and divide grape juice equally amongst the dishes. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours or until set.
Mentally divide each dish into 12 zones and place 1/6th of each ingredient in each zone. Repeat for remaining dishes and serve immediately.
Makes six servings.