Easy Living Grilled Salmon

Posted on

I met with the Sassy Kitchen this past week to come up with some recipes for the three Passaggio Rosés. One of my favorites was the grilled Salmon and Passaggio Mourvedre Rosé. What an awesome pairing…get those grills hot and wines chilled because this is a definite winner!!

Featured Image -- 2194

Summer Grilled Salmon

Salmon (pictured is a 4oz serving.)
2 to 3 cloves garlic
Equal measures of: (¼ to ½ cup ideally, depending on the amount of fish)
Olive Oil
Soy Sauce
Brown Sugar
Lemon Juice
A couple shakes of pepper

Smash and roughly chop the garlic. Then add the garlic, olive oil, soy sauce, brown sugar, lemon juice and pepper to a gallon sized zip-lock back or a storage container with a lid.   Mix until the sugar has dissolved. (I was being lazy and rather than grabbing another spice, I used my Nature’s Seasons instead of plain pepper)

Cut your fish into the desired serving portions and place it in the bag or container with the marinade. Make sure it’s well coated and covered, then seal the container and put it in the refrigerator for 4 hours. You can go shorter with the time but I recommend at least 2 hours.

fire up your grill and bring it to a medium high heat. Spray the grill well with a non-stick grill spray and place the fish, skin side down, on the grill and close the lid. Cook for 5 to 6 minutes.

Carefully turn the fish over (the skin peeled off mine both times so …. Don’t worry if yours does too). Spoon a little of the leftover marinade, over the fish and cook for another 4 to 5 minutes or until it’s flaky.

I served the grilled salmon over spinach with sweet tomatoes.

On the stove (or use an outdoor grill burner – I don’t have one) heat about ½ a tbsp. of butter and a drizzle of olive oil in a pan. Toss in a few large handfuls of spinach, add some salt and pepper and stir around until fully wilted and the liquid has evaporated. I also sliced some small sweet tomatoes and garnished the plate with them. (A spinach salad would be equally as wonderful)


The Sassy Kitchen

Passaggio Wines

Dungeness Crab Bisque with Passaggio Unoaked Chardonnay

Posted on

We had so much fun during the Passaggio Passionista Wine, Food, and Friends Get Together, we are planning another!!! Take a look at what The Sassy Kitchen might be cooking for us… “YUM” – and what a great recipe for Valentine’s Day!!! Enjoy!

Here in the bay area, it is Dungeness Crab Season.  This makes me very happy.  🙂

A few days ago I had the pleasure of attending one of my best friends 50th birthday party.  The part was a surprise and we were all asked to bring something yummy.  I had an hour drive so I needed something that would transport well, reheat in a crock pot and still be delicious.

For me, there was an easy answer. Dungeness Crab Bisque!!!

I had never made it so I searched recipes, read reviews and chose one.  Of course then I changed it.

This soup can be prepared in a couple of hours if you are using live crab and in under an hour if using shelled crab meat.

Are you ready?

You will need

2 Dungeness Crab (approx 2 pounds each)
2 Tbsp Olive Oil
1 Medium Carrot, Chopped
1 Stalk Celery, Chopped
1 Medium to Large Tomato, Chopped
3 Cloves Garlic, Chopped
3 Medium Shallots, Chopped
2 Springs Fresh Tarragon Leaves, Chopped
2 to 3 Tbsp Cognac (Brandy)
1/3 Cup All Purpose Flour
1 Cup Passaggio Unoaked Chardonnay
1 Tbsp Tomato Paste
5 Cups Crab Boiling Water (you can use stock or water )
1/2 Dried Bay Leaf (or 1 small – you want a subtle flavor)
Fresh Pepper
Cayenne Pepper
2 Sprigs Thyme Leaves
1 Cup Heavy Cream
2 Tbsp Butter
Parsley or Chives (optional)
Long Matches – I’m adding this because it’s important for lighting the Cognac

My recipe is based on one made by Wolfgang Puck. I loved it but it was too thin for me  so I made it a little thicker. I also precooked the crab in my recipe.  I have no problem putting live crabs into boiling water, I can’t bring myself to cut them in half while they are still trying to pinch me. It’s just one of those weird things.  (I’m the same with lobster.  Ok killing it one way but not another – weird but true)  The original recipe was also doubled.  It makes a lot and for Valentine’s day, this could be the perfect “Dinner for Two”.
Start by filling a large stock pot with water and bringing to a boil.  Add crab ( I had to do them one at a time).  Bring back to a boil, cover and turn off burner.  Leave the crab in the pot for 10 minutes.  They will not be fully cooked.  Move them to a sink or large bowl full of cold or ice water to stop the cooking.
Reserve the boiling water.  I only have one stock pot that large so I poured the water into a large bowl.

When the crab is cool enough to handle, pull of the claws and legs and cut the body in half.  Pull off the top shell and toss it.  (You can keep and freeze it for stock)  Clean out the gills.  You really don’t want those getting mixed up in your soup.

Add the Olive Oil to stock pot over medium heat.  Add the crab legs and bodies.  Saute for about 10 minutes.  This is bringing the flavor to what will be your soup base.  (and it will finish the cooking of the crab)  Remove the legs in about 5 minutes, keep stirring and turning over the bodies and claws.  Pull out of the pot and set aside.

Add the tomato, carrot, celery, shallot, garlic, tarragon to the pot.  Cook for 15 minutes.

Add the cognac and light it using a long “fireplace” match.

Once the flames die out, sprinkle the vegetable mixture with the flour and stir until well coated.

THEN add that delicious Passaggio Unoaked Chardonnay (that you’re probably already sipping)
Add slowly while using it to de-glaze the pan and loosen the floured vegetable mix.

Now add the tomato paste, crab boil water, the bay leaf, thyme, a little salt, pepper and a dash of cayenne.

NOW add the crab bodies again.  Not the legs or claws, just the body pieces.

Bring up to a simmer and cook for 10 minutes.

Pull out the crab and set aside.

With either an immersion blender or a standard blender, blend the soup.

Reduce heat to low.  Keep the soup warm but do not boil. Taste and adjust salt, pepper and cayenne as desired.

In a small sauce pan add the cream and butter.  Reduce by about 1/2 (less is fine, it still works well)

SLOWLY add the cream to the soup.  DO NOT BOIL.

Still well to blend.

Taste and adjust seasoning.

Now it’s time to get back to that crab.  Crack and clean the crab.  (I did the claws and legs while the soup was simmering and then the bodies as soon as they were cool enough to handle)

To serve, ladle soup into bowls and add the crab meat. Top with chives or parsley if desired.

Serve with Passaggio Unoaked Chardonnay.
The Sassy Kitchen Crab
The Sassy Kitchen

Passaggio “Passionista” Cornish Hens

Posted on

I was graced with dinner from The Sassy Kitchen the other evening. She stopped by the winery to drop it off. When I got home all I had to do was warm it up…how cool is that? I love the Passaggio Chardonnay Cornish Hens. You are gonna love this recipe…I think I could even make it 😉

Straight from The Sassy Kitchen

“Passionista” Cornish Hens

2 Cornish Hens
1 1/2 Cup Passaggio Chardonnay
Salt and Pepper (or Seasoning blend of choice)
1 Tbsp Butter
Kitchen Twine
Meat Injector
Basting Brush

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

Prepare the birds by drying them as much as possible. I wrap them in paper towels and pat dry then remove the towels and place on more towels while I finish the prep. A little tip I learned a few years ago is that a dry bird gives you crisper skin.

Truss the birds with kitchen twine. There are several great videos online on how to do this if you’re not sure. (Click here for one on YouTube)

Pour the Passaggio Chardonnay into a cup or small bowl.
Using a meat injector (relatively inexpensive and so handy to have in the kitchen) fill the syringe with some of the wine in the cup. Pouring the wine in a cup or container will keep you from cross contamination issues. Inject 1 to 2 syringes of Passaggio Chardonnay into each breast half. I recommend going in at different angles from the same injection spot. You will see the breasts “plump”. You can also inject the thighs and legs.  Just follow the same steps.

Season dry birds liberally with your preferred seasonings.

Remove paper towels from under the birds. Be careful to not squeeze the birds.  You don’t want to squeeze out the wine. 🙂

Place hens in preheated oven for 10 to 12 minutes then reduce heat to 350 and continue to cook for an additional 30 to 45 minutes.  Check at 30 minute point and cover tips of wings with foil if they are browning too much.  About 5 minutes before you pull them out of the oven, brush the birds with a little melted butter.  (makes them “shine” a bit)

Remove from oven and carefully cut the twine.  Check the leg/thigh area for “doneness”.  Depending on the size of your hens, it may take a little longer in the oven.

Let the birds rest for about 10 minutes, plate whole or slice and enjoy.

Passionista Cornish Hens

**Want to try a little “twist”?  Add fresh thyme leaves to the injection wine.  Be sure they are finely diced.  They will clog the injector’s needle if too large (or if you add too many)


Passaggio Pinot Noir Braised Lamb Shanks

Posted on Updated on

Cooking with The Sassy Kitchen – Passaggio Pinot Noir Braised Lamb Shanks

This evening with The Sassy Kitchen was so much fun, and a lot of people are waiting for this recipe!! So here we go…straight from The Sassy Kitchen.


4 Lamb Hind Shanks. 4 to 5 pounds total weight. *
3 Large Carrots
2 Large Stalks Celery
1 Small Yellow Onion
1 Small White Onion
5 Cloves Garlic
12 Oz Tomato Paste
4 Cups Water
2 Cups Passaggio Unmarked Code Seven 2012 Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir
2 Cups All Purpose Flour
1 Tsp Chopped Fresh Rosemary
8 to 10 Sprigs Fresh Thyme**
4 Bay Leaves
Salt and Pepper
Heavy, well sealing Dutch Oven.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Give the carrots, celery and onions a rough chop and smash the garlic cloves. Put them in the food processor.  Chop until you have a chunky “paste”.  Set aside.

Put flour in a bowl and season well with salt and pepper.

Coat Dutch Oven liberally with olive oil and place on the stove over medium high heat.  You want a HOT pan.

Dry Lamb Shanks with paper towels then coat them with flour.   When the pan is hot, work in batches. Be sure not to crowd the meat and steam it – not brown it.  Brown the meat well.  Take the time to get it browned well on all sides.  Set aside to rest and cool just slightly.

Drain the fat from the pan.  You really don’t want all that extra meat fat in this dish.  Add a little more olive oil to the pan and then add the vegetable mixture and salt and pepper to taste. This should be sort of searing as well.  Cook while stirring for 15 to 20 minutes.  You’ll want them brown but not burned.  Move it to one side of the pan and add the tomato paste.  Let this “brown” too.  You will see it go to a richer deeper red.  Stir both the vegetables and the tomato paste, separately for about 5 minutes and then blend them together.

Reduce heat to medium, add the Passaggio Pinor Noir and stir well.  Let the wine reduce for a few minutes.  Add the rosemary, thyme, bay leaves and water.  Stir until well blended.

Place the lamb shanks in the pot.  They should be almost totally covered.  Place the lid on the Dutch Oven and put it in the oven.  Total cook time is about 3 hours.  Check and turn the lamb shanks in an hour and a half.  If the liquid has reduced too much, add some water. (Skim fat if needed)

Recipe steps for Lamb ShanksRemove from the oven and carefully remove the lamb shanks to either a family style serving dish or individual plates.  Spoon some of the braising liquid over the plated lamb shanks and enjoy!***

I served the lamb shanks over roasted garlic and olive oil mashed potatoes. I got the recipe from watching Lidia’s Italy. Click here for the link to Lidia’s garlic and olive oil mashed potatoes.

For the plating I also added some Chardonnay carrots.  (recipe coming soon)

Lamb Shanks
*Choose good quality meat. I buy mine from D’Artagnan.  I trust the quality and they have some great sales.  Watch for them and stock up!

** For the Thyme, either tie with kitchen twine so you can easily pull the stems out OR remove the leaves from the stems and toss them in.

***I was serving the next day so I transferred them to a smaller, cool pot and refrigerated them overnight.  They reheated well the next day.  About 30 minutes in a 400 degree oven and they were up to temperature and ready.


The Sassy Kitchen

Holiday Recipe

Posted on

During the Holidays I am reminded of my Italian grandmother and her sisters who always did all the cooking, and in later years my Aunt Mary took over…I couldn’t wait to dig in to those wonderful recipes handed down from generation to generation. They were never written but handed down by actually cooking with the older women of the family. It was always a “little bit” of this and a “little bit” of that added to a dish. No ingredient was ever measured. (except maybe in baking) I have often wondered why they never wrote those recipes down…nonetheless I still have a few in my head and I’m passing this one down to you 😉

Trying to remember some of the recipes that would pair well with my Unoaked Chardonnay I recalled the Fried Baccala Patties. This was not the traditional Baccala dish, although Grandma made that one too for the Christmas Holidays. This was something made up ahead of time and ate when anyone came to visit.

Remember, there’s no ingredient amounts…you can do it…I have confidence in you…

Ingredients you will need:

Salted Cod Fish
dried breadcrumbs
parmesan cheese (dried)
parsley (fresh and chopped)
olive oil

Soak the cod-fish in water for a few days in the fridge – changing the water a couple of times a day
Drain water and squeeze water from fish – grind fish with meat grinder
Add your eggs (usually one per pound), breadcrumbs, parmesan cheese, salt and pepper, parsley
Make into patties about one to one and half inches thick
Fill frying pan with olive oil so that the patties are half-covered
Fry on both sides til golden brown – drain on paper towels

These make a wonderful seafood patty – hopefully you will enjoy them with your favorite white wine…I am thinking Passaggio Unoaked Chardonnay for mine…


Passaggio Wines

Mashed Sweet Potato and Yams w/ Blood Orange Liqueur

Posted on

It’s Thanksgiving and I can’t wait for a few days of rest from all the harvest activity!

Dolce Vita Cook BookMy good friend, Michelle Mazzara, gave me her new  book, Dolce Vita USA Cook Book, and I wanted to share a side dish that I believe you will totally love having on your Thanksgiving table this year.

Thank you Michelle for the gift!!!



Mashed Sweet Potato and Yams with Blood Orange Liqueur


3 Yams
3 Sweet Potatoes
1 tsp. of freshly grated ginger
1/2 tsp. of cinnamon
1/2 tsp. of nutmeg
1 stick of unsalted butter
3 tsp. of brown sugar
3 tsp. of Solerno Blood Orange Liqueur
3 tsp. of fresh orange juice
1/4 tsp. of salt and pepper
1/4 cup of fresh cream

1) Bake potatoes and yams at 380 degrees for 40 minutes or until done.
2) In a large bowl combine all ingredients and mix
3) Scoop out potato and yam and add to bowl
4) Mash potatoes and yam in with rest of ingredients
5) Add to serving dish
6) Top with zest of an orange

Serve Warm


Have a safe and happy Thanksgiving Holiday

Passaggio Wines

Match Maker, Make me a Match

Posted on

100 food pairingsI had the privilege, a few years ago, to meet Jill Silverman Hough, (@JillSHough) the author of “100 perfect pairings”  We were friends on twitter for some time when I heard she was signing books in Napa on one particular evening.  I stopped by to meet Jill (IRL) and she signed my book: Cindy, (my first tweet ‘n’ meet!) Happy pairings! Jill

I absolutely love this book and wanted to share one of my all time favorite Pinot Noir Match Maker food pairing recipes.  If you are having guests over for dinner, I highly recommend this recipe…great food, wonderful friends, and awesome wine – what could be better?


salmon skewers

herbes de provence salmon skewers with provencal aioli

3/4 cup mayonnaise
24 capers, finely chopped (you should have about 2 teaspoons), plus 1 teaspoon packing liquid
4 cloves garlic, pressed through a garlic press or minced
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil, divided
1 1/2 pounds salmon fillets, cut on a diagonal into 1/2-inch strips (you should have about 18 pieces)
2 teaspoons herbes de Provence (you can find this in the spice sections at most major grocery stores)
1/2 teaspoon coarse kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
Special equipment: about eighteen 8-inch skewers, soaked in water for at least 10 minutes if they are wood or bamboo

In a small bow, whisk together the mayonnaise, capers, caper packing liquid, garlic, and 1 tablespoon of the olive oil.  Set aside.  (you can prepare the aioli up to a day in advance, storing it covered in the refrigerator)

Thread the salmon onto skewers, one strip per skewer.  Brush both sides with the remaining 3 tablespoons of olive oil and sprinkle with the herbes de Provence, salt, and pepper.

Prepare the grill to medium-high heat. Grill the salmon until it’s cooked through.  1 1/2 to 2 minutes per side.  Serve the salmon with the aioli on the side.

Of course I would pair this with the 2011 Passaggio UNMARKED Pinot Noir.

If you do try this recipe I would love to hear your Match Maker Matches…

Happy Match Making

Cynthia Cosco

Passaggio Wines