Before we sing the glories of the Sauternes vinegar from Oliviers & Co (photo #1) our Top Pick Of The Week, a few words are required for those who are not familiar with Sauternes wine.
Sauternes (saw-TERN) is the great sweet wine of Bordeaux—the great sweet wine of the world. It is made from the white Bordeaux grape, Semillon (SEM-e-yone).
One Sauternes, Château d’Yquem (ee-KEM), is one of the costliest wines in the world (photo #5).
Sauternes “is the symbol of the holiday season in France,” according to Oliviers & Co, and is generally served with the foie gras course.
A luxurious Christmas dinner often consists of foie gras served on a slice of toasted brioche with a glass of chilled sweet wine like Sauternes* (we like a bit of mesclun on the plate.
These luscious golden wines are beautiful to look at, and the taste is often sublime.
But you don’t need a bottle d’Yquem to enjoy Sauternes. Your wine store clerk can show you options for your budget.
Sauternes wine has notes of apricots, honey and peaches, a scrumptious aroma, and a broad pairing beyond desserts:
Oliviers & Co has created a wonderful new way to expand the use of the great Sauternes wine: Sauternes vinegar.
After our first taste, we were hooked.
Like the wine itself, the fruity and honey-flavored notes are simply splendid: apricot, candied fig, grapefruit, vanilla even touch of coconut.
We tasted it from the spoon, and then had another spoon, and another. It’s that mellow: no burning acidity.
In addition to the nuances of fruit and honey, there’s a sweetness to this vinegar that we find analogous to the sweetness of a fine balsamic.
It’s a great gift for anyone with a palate to appreciate the finer things.
Thank you, Oliviers & Co. By the way, oliviers is French for olive trees. France has a bounty of them in the southern region of Provence.
> CONSIDER A DELUXE GIFT SET WITH CHRISTMAS OLIVE OIL (photo #2)
Ingredients For 4 Servings
1. PREHEAT the oven to 410°F/210°C.
2. USE 2 skewers to cut the potatoes. To do so, prick the skewers through the middle of the potato and cut it into strips, so you only cut through halfway. Cut the garlic cloves into strips and divide them among the potatoes. Place them in an oven dish. Cut small pieces of butter and insert them in each potato. Sprinkle the whole with olive oil and fleur de sel. Bake for 40 minutes. Meanwhile…
3. PEEL the shallots, slice them and let them sweat in 1 tablespoon of olive oil for 10 minutes over medium heat. Then pour in 4 tablespoons of Sauternes vinegar and let it simmer over a low heat for 5 minutes.
4. Ten minutes before the end of cooking the potatoes, place parchment paper in a large sauté pan and fry the salmon steaks on the skin side until the skin has a caramelized appearance, and cover 7-8 minutes. Then turn the fish over and cook for 1-2 minutes until the flesh is translucent (just cooked).
5. ADJUST the seasoning, add some fresh ground pepper and serve with a drizzle of olive oil, the potatoes, and the shallots confit with their juice.
*Other sweet wines from France include those from:
†Oliviers & Co sells salt-and-herb mixes for both fish and meat. We mix coarse sea salt with rosemary for a delicious seasoning. You can also use dried basil, chives, dill, lemongrass and/or tarragon. In other recipes where fresh herbs are used, add the fresh versions of these herbs (including garlic, which is already in the recipe above).