Rosé + Pickled Rhubarb BLT
Rosé s’il vous plait!
Pink is having a moment. One quick glance though Instagram and you’ll see an overwhelming number of posts crushing on blush. From clothing and purses to kitchen appliances and restaurant banquettes, pink has jumped the fashion runway and is making itself seen in all manner of food (what is with the pink pineapple) and of course cocktails. This is not a new trend either…you all remember last summer’s anthem ‘Rosé all day’ and matching beverage the Frosé. This timeless shade of pink even has a name and of course a paint swatch to match. Millennial Pink, as it has become known, is here to stay. Once this flash of pink catches your attention, you can’t help but notice it everywhere. Of course no one can agree on the exact shade. The colour has mutated to include all manner of pink from a wisp of rose, to a touch of blush, to a drop of salmon.
Whatever the shade, we are in the pink! We have embraced all shades of pink and are currently seeing the world through rose coloured glasses. Now we’re not talking about bubble gum pink, or cotton candy pink,1980’s dusty rose or that ever-pleasing shade of Pepto Bismol. We are referring to the elegant and sophisticated shades and full spectrum that is rosé wine. Now, rosé is more than just a pretty pour, it’s a versatile drink that perfectly answers the question….do you want white or red? It goes with everything from BBQ and pizza, to sushi and tacos. It elegantly turns lunch into a luncheon and two wine loving chicks into ladies.
To us, rosé represents summer in a bottle. It evokes the happy spirit and ease of summer. It recreates the feeling of sunny blue skies by the beachy Mediterranean seaside and whisks us off to a lively cafe, where we waste away the afternoon sipping well-chilled pink wine. Now what to eat? A BLT is the perfect summer sandwich, salty bacon, crisp lettuce and perfectly ripe, just picked and still warm from the the vine tomatoes. Let’s face it, everyone loves a BLT and even a bad BLT is still pretty good. As it’s just June and local tomatoes are at least a month away, we are turning our attention to the bountiful rhubarb harvest and bringing a touch of rhubarb pink to our BLT.
Those first rosy stalks of rhubarb that pop through the soil in early spring get us excited. We wait in anticipation as the leaves unfurl and the stalks multiply in all shades of speckled pink, green flecked salmon and deep crimson. We imagine all the cobblers and pies and shortcakes we will make and then suddenly, overnight the garden is overflowing. This unexpected overwhelming bounty has forced us to rethink rhubarb beyond baking and use these tangy, tart stalks as a pickled condiment for our BLT. Our rhubarb ‘quickle’ is just that…a quick-pickle. Simply slice up the stalks, bring the brine to a boil, pour it over, steep and chill. Voilà, sweet and puckery pickled rhubarb, the perfect R to our BLT!
The classic BLT. A perfect balance of salty, smoky, crispy, chewy, sweet and tart. With so few ingredients the key to a superior BLT is quality ingredients.
Of course, one could argue which element of the BLT is most important…is it the bacon or the bread? Well, we were inspired by two stellar products, so we were lucky enough to not have to choose! Our double smoked bacon was hand prepared by students in the Retail Meat Cutter program at Fanshawe College. Hand cut and trimmed, deliciously cured and double smoked, this is the kind of bacon that old timers remember. One sniff as it was coming out of the smoker and our mouths were watering. The sweet/salty cure on the bacon intensified flavours in the wine and kept us interested bite after bite.
Now, not be upstaged, our bread is a standout as well. Made by local baker Richard Placzek, this round loaf brought texture, interest and a sour note that echoed flavours in the rhubarb. Known as the Ontario Field Blend, this loaf was brimming with freshly milled, whole grain goodness. Slowly fermented, the bread had all kinds of sweet earthy notes that worked well with the subtly spiced rhubarb.
Now is that a pic for #instabacon? Taking the perfect pic for our blog posts is more than just getting the right composition and the balance of natural light. As we’ve mentioned before, we are both moms and our kids are often around during recipe testing and picture taking…usually waiting impatiently to eat the food or asking “Ewww, what is that?” or “What else is there to eat?”. Often when editing pictures we will find silly faced photo-bombs and little people’s fingers as ‘rabbit ears’ on many dishes. A new addition to the photography crew (that we’ve noticed we need to keep a better eye on), is the dog who is a huge fan of bacon. We are not new to this dog-ownership thing and should have maybe thought that through before setting up the shot on the floor of the back deck because….’the light was perfect’. As you can see from his smiling face…..this bacon is the bomb!
1 bunch of rhubarb, sliced on a sharp bias into 1″ pieces
2/3 cup red wine vinegar
1/3 cup water
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon brown or yellow mustard seeds
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon allspice
- Place the prepared rhubarb in a shallow glass container or mason jar.
- Bring vinegar, water, sugar and spices to a boil in a medium saucepan. Simmer until sugar is completely dissolved.
- Pour vinegar mixture over rhubarb, seal and cool completely.
- Refrigerate until ready to use.
Everything is coming up rosé!
This summer, we are quenching our thirst with the many shades that rosé wine has to offer. To some this trend may seem fleeting but rosé is here to stay. Rosé is more than just a pretty colour or summer fling.
Need more convincing that pink is the new black?
- As we mentioned before, rosé goes with everything! It’s bright acidity and soft tannic structure make it the perfect partner for summer’s favourite grilled recipes and it looks really elegant when drinking poolside!
- It’s a wide-ranging style and can be light and lean or deep and rich all depending on the grapes used. The colour of the wine is based on how long it is left to ferment with the skins. Rosé’s colour comes from red-skinned grapes and is not a blend of white and red grape juice!
- It is not sweet! Let that bad reputation go. Rosé is a serious wine in a whimsical colour but it is dry.
- It drinks like summer in a bottle with aromas and flavours of strawberries, cherries and raspberries, melon, rhubarb, rose petals and citrus zest (ok just the aromas are fruity….there should be no fruit added)
- It’s affordable and is meant to be drunk in it’s youth. You don’t need to pay more than $15 for a great rosé.
- It is produced all over from many different grape varietals. A few of it’s alter ego’s are Rosato (Italy) Rosado (Spain). It is produced in Canada, the United States, Chile and Australia just to name a few. When in doubt, look to France, specifically Provence which is the motherland or mecca of dry rosé.
- It’s easy-drinking and can lean towards lower alcohol which is better for lunch (aka day-drinking)
- It plays well with others…all things fruity, boozy, fizzy and looks gorgeous added to cocktails, in sangria or slushies
Let’s be honest…as far as pairings go, the options of what to drink with a BLT are vast. A fine bubbly would be a great choice. There is something about biting into the crispy, salty bacon and washing it down with a sip of sparkling wine. The sweet, salty bacon balanced out by all that tart effervescence. For that matter, a beer would also be a darn good choice. Crisp, cold, creamy bubbles, kept fresh with hoppy citrus notes and sweetened by roasted barley flavours.
We decided to go for something elegant, dry, refreshing and adaptable to all those tart tomato and pickled rhubarb flavours. For us, all roads led to a classic Provencal rosé. Fresh, crisp and dry….it’s the perfect partner to most summer meals. Our rosé stood up to the salty bacon while the ripe strawberry, melon and raspberry flavours brought out a sweetness. With just the right amount of acidity, the wine helped cut through all the richness and lifted everything, keeping it crisp and clean, at the same time matching the tart rhubarb and tomato. Every bite and sip was summer lovin!
We chose Carte Noire Rosé 2016. A pale salmon pink, Côtes de Provence rosé, from Les Maitres Vignerons de la Presqu’ile de Saint-Tropez who is recognized as a leader in Provence with a reputation for quality wines. The wine is a blend of Grenache and Cinsault, with the Grenache bringing both weight and ample fruit flavours to the blend. It is a lovely, pale pink shade with aromas of strawberries, fresh watermelon and rose petals, a salty minerality, a touch of spice and a subtle savoury side. It comes in the famous ‘flute a corset’ bottle aka the ‘Mae West’, which is curvy like a corset and evokes all the sensuality of Provence and a summer in Saint-Tropez.
Like a good friend…we are just trying to push you outside of your comfort zone.
Live a little and expand your palate.
Rosé all day…drink pink!
– Josie & Christie
Canadian Association of Professional Sommeliers
After 10 years as a restaurateur, culinary instructor and caterer, a trip to France sparked an untapped enthusiasm for all things wine. I gave up the restaurant life, made a huge u-turn and dove head first into the vast world of wine. I have never looked back and achieved my Sommelier certification with the Canadian Association of Professional Sommeliers in 2015. I love sharing my pursuit of the perfect pairing in a fun, unfussy and ultimately delicious way with my friends, family and those I teach.
Red Seal Chef, Culinary Instructor
I graduated from the Stratford Chefs School in 1999 and achieved Red Seal Certification shortly thereafter. With this strong foundation laid, an opportunity to spend time in California presented itself. While there, I was intoxicated by the seasonality and quality of the ingredients everywhere I looked. This experience proved to be a turning point for me in how I thought about food. It inspired me to have a deep and enduring respect for the people, food and culture that go into the perfect dish.