Ripe for Pairing

Ripe for Pairing
From, by Family Features Editorial Syndicate
Photo courtesy of Jackson Family Wines (PRNewsFoto/Family Features Editorial Syndi)

MISSION, Kan., Sept. 15, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- (Family Features) Enjoying the bounty of harvest means creating dishes that celebrate the most intense character and flavors a region can deliver. Put a fresh twist on farm-to-table goodness by pairing two vine-ripened garden treasures: heirloom tomatoes and crisp, refreshing white wine.

Northern California's Sonoma County is known for some of the nation's finest vineyards. It's also a culinary destination with a wide range of farms and artisan food purveyors. The Kendall-Jackson Wine Estate and Gardens offers the best of both: sampling wine while exploring the four-acre estate's culinary garden, which offers a wide array of unique crops, including 150 varieties of heritage tomatoes.

Inspired by the annual Kendall-Jackson Heirloom Tomato Festival, which celebrates its 20th anniversary this year, these recipes are a twist on classic favorites, delighting the palate by pairing farm-fresh tomatoes with the perfect wine. A perfect accompaniment to grilled chicken, this simple tomato and mozzarella salad is only better paired with Chardonnay. Or, for an elevated take on an old southern favorite, serve up these fried green tomatoes with a glass of Sauvignon Blanc.

Find more pairing tips and recipes featuring seasonal ingredients at

Heirloom Tomato and Mozzarella Salad
Servings: 4

2 1/2

pounds heirloom tomatoes, mixed varieties


cup good quality extra-virgin olive oil

kosher salt, to taste

freshly ground black pepper, to taste


cup micro basil (or 1 dozen basil leaves, sliced and torn), divided


large balls fresh mozzarella, cut into wedges

flaked sea salt

Slice tomatoes into 3/4- to 1-inch thick wedges. In large bowl, add tomatoes, olive oil, kosher salt, pepper and half the basil. Toss and allow to marinate 2 minutes. Arrange tomatoes and mozzarella on serving plate, alternating each. Pour marinating liquid over tomatoes and mozzarella. Garnish with remaining basil and sprinkle with sea salt and pepper.

Serve with Kendall-Jackson Grand Reserve Chardonnay. Chardonnay's flavors of orchard fruit complement the sweetness of late summer tomatoes.

Fried Green Tomatoes with Delice de la Vallee
Servings: 4


large unripe green tomatoes, sliced 1/2-inch thick


cup buttermilk


cup all-purpose flour


cup cornmeal


teaspoon kosher salt


teaspoon black pepper


tablespoons rice oil (or other neutral flavored oil)


teaspoon good quality sea salt


cup Delice de la Vallee


ounce trout caviar, for garnish (optional)


ounce purslane, picked

In medium bowl, soak tomatoes in buttermilk at least 30 minutes (or as long as overnight).

In large bowl, mix flour, cornmeal, kosher salt and pepper. Using tongs or fork, remove tomato slices from buttermilk and coat with cornmeal-flour mixture.

In 12-inch cast iron skillet, add oil and heat over medium-high heat. Place tomato slices in skillet in batches and fry until golden brown on both sides.

Place fried tomatoes on paper towel-lined plate and sprinkle with sea salt. Place tomatoes on serving plate and garnish with cheese, caviar, if desired, and purslane.

Serve immediately with Kendall-Jackson Vintner's Reserve Sauvignon Blanc. The crisp Sauvignon Blanc matches the acidity in the tomatoes.

Note: Fromage Blanc, cream fresh or sour cream can be substituted for Delice de la Vallee.

Michael French 

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