Food & Wine Pairing: Coconut Curry Salmon with Exotic Whites
At home, the dinner menu is often determined by the wine I want to drink, rather than the other way around, and recently I had picked up a bottle of Királyudvar's 2011 Tokaji Furmint Sec. One of the oldest wine estates in Hungary, Királyudvar is famous for its lusciously sweet white wines known as Tokaji or Tokay in English. In the 18th and 19th centuries the sweet wine of the Tokaji region was held in such high esteem that it was quoted by Louis XV as being "the wine of kings and the king of wines" and was a great favorite at the French, Russian, and Austrian royal courts. Farmed biodynamically, this particular cuvée is made from the same Furmint grape as the historic sweet wines but is fermented dry. It has an exotic quality reminiscent of apricots, black tea, and musky spice, as well as a wonderful texture that is weighty, broad, and resinous balanced by a crisp finish and refreshing acidity.
I needed a dish that could match the Tokaji's exotic flavors and stand up to its rich texture. I knew that salmon would be a good starting point and found a great recipe: Clean Green Eat's Coconut Curry Salmon Salad. It was healthy, easy to make, and delicious. The curry complemented the exotic, musky spice notes of the wine and the salmon itself was rich and flavorful enough to stand up to the broad texture of the wine without overwhelming it.
If you can't find a bottle of dry Tokaji, I've also paired this dish successfully with other exotic-leaning white wines such as full-bodied Austrian Grüner Veltliners and Marsanne/Roussanne blends from the Northern Rhône Valley, France.
Coconut Curry Salmon Salad
Recipe via Clean Green Eats and Candice Kumai, June 2015
1 pound wild salmon fillet
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 teaspoon curry powder (add more if desired!)
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon dried oregano, or 2 tablespoons fresh oregano
2 teaspoons reduced-sodium tamari soy sauce
Coconut Curry Dressing:
1 tablespoon unrefined coconut oil, at room temperature*
1 teaspoon curry powder
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon raw or manuka honey
2 tablespoons reduced-sodium tamari soy sauce
2 cups lacinato kale leaves, finely chopped
2 cups cooked quinoa
1/4 red onion, thinly sliced
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Coat a 9 x 13-inch baking dish with coconut oil or olive oil cooking spray and set aside.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the olive oil, curry, lemon juice, oregano, and tamari soy sauce. Place the salmon into a nonreactive container or baking dish with a lid, and pour the marinade over the top. Using a cooking brush, baste the salmon with the marinade, cover, and place into the fridge for about 30 minutes.
Remove the salmon from the fridge, and transfer to the prepared baking dish. Bake, on middle rack, for about 15 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool slightly. The salmon should feel slightly firm to the touch.
Meanwhile, in a large bowl, whisk together the coconut oil, curry powder, lemon juice, honey, and tamari soy sauce until well combined. Add the kale, quinoa, and red onion to the bowl and toss gently to coat with the dressing. Flake in the cooked and slightly cooled salmon with fork, and toss to combine.
*Unrefined coconut oil will solidify when below 76F and will melt above 76F. For dressings, you always want to melt the coconut oil to a liquid consistency.