Lynda Balslev: Cooking with rose wine |

Lynda Balslev: Cooking with rose wine

Most likely, you’ve cooked with red and white wines, but have you tried cooking with rose? Wine is a useful ingredient when cooking. A mere splash can enhance the flavor of soups and stews, sauces and marinades. When wine cooks, the alcohol evaporates, leaving the essence of the wine to infuse a dish. This is why it’s always advised to choose a wine you would like to drink when adding it to a recipe. It doesn’t have to be a pricey bottle, but it should certainly be quaffable.

Generally speaking, when cooking a savory dish with wine, you don’t want to choose one that will overpower with sweetness, fruit and oak. Rather, opt for dry, slightly acidic, un-oaked wines as the best all-around choice. Rose wines fall easily into this category with varietals and blends that range from light and dry to crisp and fruity. Roses can often be added to recipes that are enhanced by white wine, adding acidity and light fruit notes to fish and shellfish, chicken, risotto, pasta and cream sauces, as well as fruity syrups and compotes.

In this recipe, rose wine pairs exceptionally well with the natural sweetness and brininess of sea scallops, while adding a hint of fruity freshness and acidity to balance the rich cream sauce.

Sea Scallops With Pink Peppercorn Cream Sauce

Active Time: 30 minutes

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Total Time: 30 minutes

Yield: Serves 3 to 4

1 pound medium-large scallops (about 18)


2 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 small shallot, finely chopped, about 2 tablespoons

2 teaspoons pink peppercorns

1 cup dry rose wine

1/2 cup heavy cream

1 tablespoon chopped tarragon, plus extra for garnish

Pinch of freshly ground black pepper, plus extra for garnish

Pat the scallops dry with a paper towel and then lightly season on all sides with salt.

Melt 1 tablespoon butter and the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat until hot. Add the scallops and sear, undisturbed, until a golden brown crust forms, 2 to 3 minutes. Flip the scallops and sear on the other side. Transfer to a plate.

Add the remaining 1 tablespoon butter to the same pan and let it melt over medium heat. Add the shallots, peppercorns and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Saute the shallots until soft and translucent, about 3 minutes, scraping up any brown bits in the pan. Pour in the rose and simmer until reduced by about half, about 8 minutes. Stir in the cream and simmer until slightly thickened, about 2 more minutes.

Stir in the 1 tablespoon tarragon and the black pepper. Return the scallops to the skillet and simmer over medium heat to gently warm, 1 to 2 minutes.

Transfer to serving plates and garnish with additional tarragon and a few grinds of black pepper.

Lynda Balslev is a cookbook author, food and travel writer, and recipe developer based in the San Francisco Bay area.

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