Developing new and enticing recipes that will bring out the best in a variety of wines is a challenge I relish. I have a huge collection of food and wine pairing books, not only because I am fascinated by it but also because for several years I developed recipes for MyWinesDirect, an online wine retailer. Coming up with new recipes to go with yet another Cabernet or Chardonnay required not only creativity but also a deeper understanding of how food and wine interact.
I have only written about a few of the books in my wine pairing collection because frankly, not very many of them are worth telling you about. The bible is of course What To Drink with What You Eat. It's where I go first for inspiration. But I also love the 100 Perfect Pairings books by Jill Silverman Hough. The first was 100 Perfect Pairings Small Plates to Enjoy with Wines You Love and the second out now is 100 Perfect Pairings Main Dishes to Enjoy with Wines You Love. She not only provides recipes, but really digs into how to pair and the tricks to making matches that sing.
The format of the two 100 Perfect Pairings books are the same, as is the general overview information about each wine. Each chapter features a different wine, and dishes that pair well with it. There are six white wines and six red wines (ok one is rose). They are the most common wine varieties you're likely to find. While the first book focused on small plates, the second in the series is all about main dishes. Each recipe has a tip, some insight into what makes it a good dish or a good pairing or even suggestions for how to round out the meal. On my list to try: Buttermilk Oven-Fried Chicken with Garlicky Ranch Sauce with Viognier, Chicken "Cocoa" Vin with Merlot, and Steak and Radicchio Caesar with Cabernet Sauvignon. If you are new at pairing food and wine or do it all the time, these books will be welcome additions to your cookbook collection since they function as reference books too. Jill Silverman Hough makes pairing food and wine easy and fun.