This recipe came about while I was preparing material for an Italian wines class. Inspiration came from the latest issue of Food Network Magazine. I’ve simplified the recipe because I needed to easily feed a crowd. In fact, quantities can be doubled or quadrupled to do just that! So next time you’re hosting a casual spaghetti night or pizza night dinner, consider including this in the mix. It’s not expensive, and it takes just minutes to put together.
This recipe serves 4 as a starter in our house.
- 1 16 oz. jar giardiniera (drain and reserve brine for the salad dressing)
- 1 head romaine lettuce rinsed and torn into bite size pieces
- 2 oz. Italian salami or proscuitto, sliced into strips
Combine all ingredients in a large bowl and toss.
- 1 T reserved giardiniera brine
- 1 T lemon juice
- 2 T olive oil
To easily mix up salad dressing, I like to combine all ingredients in a jar then shake it up. Pour over salad.
Pairing wine with salad can be tricky because of the high acid level in the dressing. If the food has more acid than the wine, the wine will probably taste dull and lifeless. The trick is to find a wine with an acid level that gently meets or exceeds the amount of acid in the food.
I never used to think about acid in wine before. In fact, the thought of a high acid wine didn’t sound appealing to me. That is, until I was reminded that acid is present in fruit (that’s why we add a squirt of lemon juice to brighten some dishes right?), and is even in milk. When I went to wine school I learned that wine contains up to six different kinds of organic acids. Long story short, acid in wine is more pleasant than it might sound.
The wine we liked with this salad is the 2010 Tre Fili Pinot Grigio from the Veneto region in Italy. This crisp white wine has a pleasant fruity nose with pear, star fruit, and chalky notes on the palate. At $10 a bottle it’s a great value.
The American alternative to Pinot Grigio is Pinot Gris. It’s the same variety, yet I find it often has a bit more umph to it when grown stateside. A nice one to try from Oregon is the 2009 St. Innocent Pinot Gris Vitae Springs Vineyard bottling. This comes from the Willamette Valley.
Alternatively, consider trying a Sauvignon Blanc. The variety is known for it’s acidity and is a classic wine to pair with most salads.