Eggs are great food for the outdoors, but they don't always go well with wine. On the art of working with flavor bridges, contrasts, and complements when pairing wine with eggs:
Eggs are fantastic food. Not just at easter, but also for making light and simple summer lunches, dinners, and picnics. However, combining eggs with wine can be tricky. The wrong combination will bring out an unpleasant metallic flavor in the eggs.
Eggs are rich in protein and contain umami which usually goes well with wine, but they also contain sulphur. A white wine with a little sweetness can work with eggs, but red wine is almost always an impossible pairing. The easiest way out is to drink beer or a non-alcoholic alternative, but there are some tricks if you insist on wine:
Think ”flavor bridge”
As the name implies, this method has to do with bringing about a favorable meeting on the palate. Some ingredients that can provide a flavor bridge between eggs and wine are lemon and vinegar, fried mushrooms and fried onions, cheese, cream and butter, caviar, and tomato sauce.
All these ingredients bring about a flavor bridge to wine, not least white wine. Even a red wine rich in tannines – that cut through the fatty richness and the full flavor of egg yolk in a bearnaise – makes a great pairing. And fish served with chopped egg and melted butter becomes a wonderful experience in the company of a crisp, white wine.
Think ”complement or contrast?”
Sometimes it is a matter of technique, of "complementing or contrasting" the egg with the wine. This might sound pretentious, but here are some no-nonsense examples:
An omelette is a very basic dish where the flavor of eggs dominates and it can be varied in infinite ways. The creamy fullness of an omelette can be contrasted with a crisp, fresh wine with some tartness – especially if seasoned with fresh, tasty herbs.
A toast with egg and fried mushrooms makes a rustic appetizer. The mushrooms make it simple to combine the dish with a red wine with some rich earthy notes. The earthiness in the food complements the earthiness in the drink.
A poached egg with smoked salmon and a little parmesan goes well with champagne. The tart freshness rinses the taste buds and contrasts the richness of the egg and the smoky fattiness of the salmon.
A double challenge
Eggs and asparagus are a great match. But pairing a wine with an asparagus omelette, an asparagus frittata, or a quiche with egg and asparagus, takes some knowledge and skill. For white wines (let us know if you have tips for red wines!) a general rule is to avoid oaked varieties and to look for citrus notes. Some are of the opinion that the grape Grüner Veltliner, which is popular in Austria, has notes of herbs and grass that complement the particular flavor of asparagus.
Eggs and Cava
Some sommeliers claim that sparkling wine from Spain – Cava – is the most suitable for pairings with egg (that is to say dishes that actually taste like eggs, not just contain eggs). It could be the high, refreshing level of carbonation and the relatively high alcohol content that does it.
Read more about combining food and wine:
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