Pairing for Spring Dishes

If and when spring arrives, here’s the food and wine to celebrate with


Spring has arrived, supposedly. Judging from the freezing temperatures and snow flurries outside, a healthy dose of doubt is warranted. But very soon there will be proof of the changing seasons, like those first spring vegetables, tender and fresh, serving notice that the days of cabbage and potatoes are coming to an end.  (Not that there’s anything wrong with cabbage and potatoes, but at little variety after a long winter is something to cheer.)
So what should we be looking out for? Peas of course, and spring onions, asparagus, early greens and tiny little beets and turnips all seem to be on the roster each year, along with the more elusive ramps and fiddlehead ferns. The arriving bounty can be used in many ways, from the classic Pasta Primavera, (literally Spring Pasta) to more adventurous offerings—there’s no limit to what you can cook over the coming months.  What follows are a few suggested recipes to get you started, with some wine pairing ideas perfect for welcoming in the warmth of spring, if and when it arrives.

Wine and food image via shutterstock

Spring Vegetable & Potato Frittata

What an easy way to slide into spring. I'm not sure exactly what I should call this. It's a frittata but at the same time it's a lot like a classic Spanish Torta, so maybe Tortatta is appropriate. Whatever you call it, this looks delicious as a starter, brunch item, or a simple snack. It's the kind of thing you can cook in the morning and nibble on all day long—a lazy day dish.

With its split personality, I'm not sure if you should pair this with a Spanish or Italian wine, though I am sure i would want a white wine here. With all the cheese here, this is a fairly rich little dish, so lets pair it with a fairly rich white wine, and one from neither Spain nor Italy to boot (so to speak)! Instead we turn to France to try some Alsace Pinot Blanc with our Tortatta! Simple, clean and fresh, it's the perfect foil for our Tortatta, and perfect for drink all day I might add!

Two to try:

Spring Vegetable Paella

And here we have a little more cross-cultural fusion going on, with Arborio rice being called out in a Paella recipe. Oh the blasphemy. OK, no need to overreact, just don't use Arborio rice for Paella, use rice that works for Paella. Bomba Calasparra is the preferred variety, or Calrose, a short-grained variety developed in California.

I'm not going to get tricky here, I’m just going to stick with a tried and true wine for a vegetable Paella, a Rioja Blanco. Something aged and funky would fit my palate, but even a more modern version that relies on freshness of fruit would do wonders with this dish.

Two to try:

Spring Vegetable Ragout with Fresh Pasta

Lo and behold, we have a pretty classic Italian recipe here! Not what some might expect in a Pasta Primavera—there's no cream—but very much like what an Italian might throw together in the Spring.

This is simple, fresh and unfussy, and the wine you pair with should be, too. The only slight hiccup I see is the addition of lemon zest to the recipe. That just means you'll need a lemony, zesty wine to match. So we go for Vermentino, from Tuscany or from Sardinia; with fresh lemony goodness, sure to help you welcome spring into your belly.

Two to try:


Galettes of Spring Greens with Goat Cheese & Marjoram

Goat cheese and herbs in a little pancake? Yes please, and keep them coming. This is so simple to make, and it sounds absolutely delicious. The wine pairing is also super simple, a no-brainer. What do you pair with goat cheese and herbs? Sauvignon Blanc.

Since we're in France, let's keep it simple and pair this with a nice version from the Loire Valley. No need to get fancy; wines from the more value-driven appellations such as Menetou-Salon and Quincy would be perfectly appropriate here. 

Two to try:

Spring Vegetable Couscous

This is a decidedly Mediterranean dish, with accents such as feta, lemon and mint that point to the Aegean. With Greek wines somewhat challenging to track down, it's tempting to offer up a simple Gruner Veltliner with this equally simple dish. In fact, that would be a solid match, but lets try to remain on topic.

Greece is blessed with indigenous grape varieties and great terroirs. I suggest tracking down a bottle of Moschofilero to pair with this dish. At its best, Moschofilero shows enchanting floral aromas and flavors of citrus and spice. 

Two to try:
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  • Snooth User: steve666
    392767 156

    Here I go, jumping off a cliff, but almost anything worth eating is worth eating while drinking red wine.

    Mar 22, 2013 at 7:20 PM

  • Snooth User: Tukaussey
    461584 40

    Drink the wine first, then it doesn't matter what you eat.

    Mar 27, 2013 at 2:53 PM

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