Baked Gefilte Fish Loaf, Sweet and Sour Brisket, Roasted Root Vegetables, Castello di Cesare Bianco Lazio Toscana, Chateau Graveyron-Carrere Bordeaux, Galil Cabernet, Borgo Reale Chianti Classico, Kadesh Barnea Gilad, Tierra Salvaje Chardonnay
The first night of Passover found us with friends and we had the usual four cups of wine ritual, that makes Passover a wonderful precursor for Alcoholics Anonymous Meetings 🙂 The wines are listed below in the order that they were drunk, also we had quite a few folks, so please do not think I actually need to attend some AA meetings.
Once the first two cups were drunk we started in on the Matzoh (we only use shemurah matzoh), Maror (our custom is to use endives, because they are so easy to clean), and then the meal. Mind you I am really happy with how the meal came out. We started with hard boiled eggs with salt water poured over it. There are many people who are starting to make this simple dish Haute Cuisine, but that is so broken. The reason for the boiled egg is to remind us of the temple’s destruction and how we used to have a Passover Sacrifice, which is oxymoronic.
The meal started with a new dish for us and a major hit on the table – Baked Gefilte Fish Loaf. A friend of ours was kind enough to share the recipe, and I hope she does not mind me sharing it with all of you. It is crazy simple to boot!
Herb Encrusted baked Fish Loaf Recipe
1 loaf of Gefilte Fish
1 onion slices into thin rings
3-4 tsp of a mixture of any Italian Herbs you want (we used Oregano, Parsley, Thyme, and Savory)
2 tbsp of oil
Garlic Powder, Paprika, and Black Pepper
Mix the spices and oil in a bowl and drop the sliced onions into the herb mixture and mix around to coat the onions well. Next drop the loaf into a baking pan and coat it with the garlic, paprika, and pepper. Then drop the onions on top and cook covered for 30 minutes in a 350 degree oven. Then flip the loaf, remove cover and bake until the pan is dry and onions are crispy.
We made three loafs at a time, by simply tripling the recipe and using a large baking pan. The fish was a hit as were the onions. The thing that was awesome was that the fish was permeated with a really cool herb and garlic flavor, not just flavored on top – really cool. We of course served it cold with a nice cold eggplant salad. We make our own, but it is available in small plastic containers at the supermarket as well.
The fish and eggplant went well with the Castello di Cesare and the Tierra Salvaje Chardonnay. After the fish appetizer, we moved on to the main course of Sweet and Sour Brisket and roasted root vegetables. I have described it a few times before, but put simply I braise a whole brisket and ONLY a whole brisket. I have no idea how anyone can braise any other version of a brisket, really. Without the top layer of fat to keep the meat moist, it would turn into shoe leather, which I have been forced to eat from time to time.
My World Famous Whole Brisket Recipe
10 white onions sliced thinly and browned in batches
1 10 or more pound whole brisket
1 can of whole berry cranberry
1 cup of ketchup
20 or more garlic cloves
1 bottle of a nice Cabernet or full bodied Merlot
So Anyway, place the browned onions in the bottom of a large roasting pan. Then take a whole brisket and rub it with garlic powder, black pepper, and tons of paprika on both sides. Next take the cloves and puncture the top of the meat (fat side up) and place a clove in each whole – make sure to NOT puncture the meat all the way through. Finally, place the meat fat side up into the roasting pan, and pour the cranberry and ketchup mixture on the meat and then pour the bottle over the mixture. The liquid should NOT cover more than half of the meat – if it does stop and add no more liquid of any kind. I need to stress this, as the meat exudes tons of liquid and the fat melts on top of that. Anymore and you will have a mess and worse a boiled chunk of meat, which is NOT what is meant by braising meat. Finally roast the meat for 4 or so hours. After it finishes cooking, let it cool over night and then slice it the next day and rebraise before serving for at least another two hours.
The roasted vegetables were pretty simple; toss whatever vegetables you want to roast in a deep pan with oil, garlic, paprika, and cumin. Roast until just puncture soft by a fork.
The wine notes follow below:
2001 Four Gates Merlot M.S.C. – Score: A
The color of this wine is a beautiful deep garnet. The nose on this wine has strong aromas of blackberry, dark plum, cranberry, eucalyptus, and oak. The mouth on this full bodied wine is layered and complex. The mouth is full with blackberry, plum, and raspberry and then layers in mint. The mid palate adds core acidity, eucalyptus and lovely integrated tannins. The finish is long and satisfying with black fruit, chocolate, and vanilla. A wonderful wine – it is at its peak if not a bit over the other side – drink up!!
2005 Kadesh Barnea Gilad (Undisclosed mixture of Merlot/Petit Verdot/Syrah) – Score: B+
The nose on this garnet-brown colored classic Cote’ de Rhone wine blend, is heavy in earth, cranberry, cassis, and oak. The mouth on this balanced medium to full bodied wine follows the nose with cranberry, cassis, and earth. The mid palate is jammy with red fruit, acidity, and nice oak. The finish is smooth, balanced, and long with red fruit and oak. The clear winner of the night, and just as good as when I tasted it in NY.
2002 Chateau Graveyron-Carrere Bordeaux – Score: B
The nose on this ruby/light garnet colored wine was the best part of this wine, with pencil shavings, blackberry, mineral, and oak. The mouth on this astringent medium bodied wine was unbalanced and really not there. The fruit was there, but overpowered by the mineral and musty French flavors. The mid palate had a nice acid core, but the finish was what threw the wine into a tizzy. It needed a ton of air, and even after all that, it was the least appreciated bottle of the night.
2007 Galil Mountain Winery Cabernet – Score: B
The nose on this dark ruby colored wine was also the best feature of this wine, it had lovely notes of blackberry, raspberry, and spice. The mouth on this medium bodies wine was also off and astringent. It may have been the bottle, or the fact that it was shipped to me recently. I will be taste wine again in the future and will repost. The fruit did show, but was overpowered by the acidity and astringency.
2007 Castello di Cesare Bianco Lazio Toscana – Score: B
The nose on this straw colored wine is super crisp with citrus, apple, peach, and lychee. The mouth on this light bodied wine is extra dry, with citrus and green flavors. The mouth is not as crisp and sharp as the nose is and is a letdown, almost flat. The mid palate is citrus with a nice but not so long finish. A bit brighter and fresher than what we tasted in NY.
2008 Tierra Salvaje Chardonnay Estate Bottled – Score: B+
This wine is controversial to say the least. Many people on the table hated it while I really liked it. This is not a democracy; it is more like a benevolent dictatorship. Still, it is important to tell readers that many hated this wine, and that it may not ring true with you. So on to the notes:
The nose on this brilliant golden colored wine with green halos is almost sweet with clear vegetal leanings, bright acidity, spice, green apples, pear, and lychee. The mouth on this medium bodied wine is not sweet at all; rather it is almost bone dry, which is funny given its sweet nose. The mouth is semi rich with green apples, flowers, and dry tea flavors. The mid palate is acidic and dry. The finish is medium long with more apples and nice acidity. This is not a big or complex wine, but a nice dry change of pace and a quite nice quaffing wine, especially given its dirt cheap price.
2007 Borgo Reale Chianti Classico Vespertino – Score: B+
I must start by stating that this wine needs air like Frankenstein needs a new marketing agent! It was the second worst bottle of the night, but I truly felt all it needed was air. Sure enough 24 HOURS later, it was really yummy and tasty. The wine had opened and now the ruby colored wine has a nose filled with cherry, raspberry, and cranberry, along with a nice dollop of chocolate. The mouth of this medium bodied wine follows the nose with more of the same fruit, in a soft mouth that you feel throughout. The mid palate is still bright with acidity, and the finish is long with more bright fruit and chocolate. A really nice showing, it just needs a TON of air or time.