Three summers ago, Paul Grieco, a New York City sommelier and restaurateur started Summer of Riesling at Terroir Wine Bar. During that summer if you wanted white wine by the glass at his bar, your only choice was Riesling. The goal was to get people to try the grape and dispel the notion that its wines are all sweet.
In the following years, Grieco’s love affair with Riesling grew and several New York restaurants and bars joined in to celebrate it. This year, the event is going national and four Miami restaurants – Michael’s Genuine Food & Drink, Sustain, Blue Piano and Michy’s – are joining some hundred restaurants and bars around the country to celebrate the grape.
At Michael’s it kicks off big with an already sold-out dinner this Wednesday featuring dishes prepared by Schwartz and chef Marco Canora, co-owner with Grieco of Terroir and Hearth. These will be paired with Rieslings selected by Grieco and Michael’s Genuine sommelier, Eric Larkee.
To have a little Summer of Riesling celebration of my own, I prepared two dishes from “Salt to Taste,” a cookbook by Canora that guests will receive at the dinner. My favorite of the two, roasted Cornish hens with a lemon and onion sauce, made for a fine weeknight dinner. I asked Larkee which Riesling he’d pair it with and here’s what he had to say.
“I’d want to drink Lagler 1000 Eimerberg Riesling with that dish. This wine holds the classification of Smaragd. In Austria, if you are a Smaragd you are either a rich (above 12.5% alcohol) dry wine or a small green lizard that suns itself on the terraces of the Wachau. The key for me with this dish is the rosemary. I want a savory wine with such a powerfully aromatic herb. The 1000 Eimerberg has layers of rich fruit and a solid core of minerality with medium acid along with an engaging smokiness that makes this one of the most pronounced savory Rieslings I’ve had ever.”
Check out Canora’s recipe after the jump. Rieslings will be poured at the participating restaurants through September so make sure you stop by for a glass or two or more. You may just fall in love with Riesling.
Roasted Cornish Hen with Lemon and Onion
From Salt to Taste: The Keys to Confident, Delicious Cooking by Marco Canora
Serves 4 generously
4 small Cornish hens
Kosher salt an freshly ground black pepper
2 lemons, 1 quartered, 1 sliced
5 small fresh rosemary sprigs
About ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
2 medium onions, peeled, halved and sliced
4 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
½ cup dry white wine
Season the hens inside and out with salt and pepper. Insert 1 lemon quarter and a rosemary sprig into each hen.
Preheat the oven to 375 F. Heat a skim of oil, about 2 tablespoons, in a large skillet over high heat. Brown the hens (in batches, if necessary), turning to get even color all over, about 10 minutes. Set the hens aside.
Add the onions, remaining rosemary sprig, 2 tablespoons oil, lemon slices, and garlic to the pan. Season with salt and pepper, and mix well. Cook over high heat, stirring occasionally, until the onions being to soften, about 4 minutes.
Arrange the hens on the onions. Add the wine, cover the pan tightly, and transfer it to the oven. Roast the hens until they are cooked through and their juices run clear, about 30 minutes. Transfer the hens to a platter.
Remove and discard all but two of the lemon slices from the onion mixture, then pass it through a food mill using the medium-holed disk. Add any juices that have accumulated under the hens and adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper. Cut the hens into halves or quarters. Spoon the sauce over them and serve.