Savor North Carolina Wines and Flavors

Wine & Food 09/01/11

Written By Sharon Fenchak

May is North Carolina Wine Month and Biltmore is proud to have a long-standing role in our state’s emerging importance in the grape-growing and wine industries.

In honor of North Carolina Wine Month, as well as Biltmore’s long agricultural and culinary heritage, Estate Executive Chef Mark DeMarco has created a very special menu that highlights some of North Carolina’s most traditional and delicious dishes.

As winemaker for Biltmore, I suggest pairing the meal with our North Carolina Biltmore Reserve Riesling because of its food-friendly character and balanced, refreshing acidity, hints of honey, and just the right touch of spice.

Country Fried Mountain Trout, Biscuits, and Pepper Jelly

• 2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for kneading
• 4 teaspoons baking powder
• ¼ teaspoon baking soda
• 1 tablespoon kosher salt
• 4 tablespoons cold, diced butter
• 1 cup buttermilk

Preheat oven to 450°. Combine dry ingredients in a large bowl and mix well. Using your hands, incorporate butter into dry ingredients until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Make a well in the center and add buttermilk. Combine just until a dough is formed.

Transfer to a counter top and knead 5–6 times, using additional flour as needed to prevent excessive sticking. Dust a rolling pin with flour, and roll dough into a 1-inch thickness. Cut with a 2-inch cutter. Baked on a greased cookie sheet for 15–20 minutes, or reserve dough in freezer.

Pepper Jelly 
• ½ cup red pepper puree*
• 13 cup finely diced red pepper
• 2 ½ cups granulated sugar
• ¾ cup cider vinegar
• ½ tablespoon dry pectin

In a small sauce pot, combine puree, vinegar, half of the sugar and the pectin. Bring to a boil, and stir in remaining sugar. Cook at 180° (or just under a boil) for 5 minutes. Turn off heat, and stir in diced peppers. Chill jelly.

*Simmer diced, seeded fresh peppers in salted water until tender. Cool to room temperature, and puree in blender, adding a little water from the cooking process if needed. (Or puree canned premium peppers.)

• 4 (6-ounce) trout fillets
• ½ cup all-purpose flour
• 1 tablespoon rubbed sage
• 2 tablespoons kosher salt
• 1 tablespoon coarse cracked black pepper
• 1 cup buttermilk
• 4 tablespoons prepared hot sauce
• 1 cup vegetable oil

Place trout in gallon zip lock bag with buttermilk and hot sauce and refrigerate overnight. Add vegetable oil to a wide, heavy bottomed skillet and set over medium heat. Combine flour, salt, pepper, and sage in a second zip lock bag. Add trout to flour mixture, and shake well.

Check oil; temperature should be 350°. Adjust heat as necessary. Shake off excess flour from trout, and fry approximately 3 minutes per side. Reserve cooked trout on paper towels in a preheated 220° oven, uncovered. Serve trout over biscuits and top with pepper jelly. Serves 4.

Kale Salad with Pickled Patty Pan Squash

• 6 quarts fresh kale, stemmed, washed, and chopped small
• 1½ cup drained canned chickpeas
• 13 cup olive oil
• 1 pound baby summer squash cut into 1-inch pieces
• 1 cup cider vinegar
• 2 cups water
• ½ cup sugar
• ¼ cup kosher salt
• 2 tablespoons pickling spice
• 2 lemons, zested and juiced

Bring vinegar, water, sugar, salt, and pickling spice to a boil. Lower heat and simmer for 10 minutes. Turn off heat, strain out pickling spice, and add squash. Let stand 10 minutes.

Preheat large sauce pot over high heat. Add ¼ cup olive oil and kale. Lightly season with salt, and cook, uncovered, until tender, stirring frequently, and adding small amounts of water as needed to prevent burning. Kale cooking times will vary depending on variety and maturity.

To assemble, combine kale, remaining olive oil, chick peas and pickled squash. Toss with lemon juice and zest. Enjoy at room temperature or chilled. Serves 4.

Tips: Everything on this menu, except for the trout, can be made a day ahead.
• Freeze uncooked biscuits, and bake from frozen at 375° instead of 450°.
• Jelly recipe can be scaled up in direct proportion to accommodate a bumper crop of summer peppers.
• If kale salad is made in advance, undercook kale slightly, as acidity of lemons will tenderize it further.

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