When I am preparing for an event at the winery I first find out what wines we are serving … this is a huge help in what I want to create, and figure out what ingredients.
White grapes have very little tannin, red grapes have tannin, and barrels have tannin. Not only do the barrels give the wine different flavors, it also gives it more tannin. Now depending on where the barrels are from and how they are toasted will highlight certain flavors that the winemaker wants. This is why I read the aroma and flavor descriptions our winemaker has written just to figure out what I am going to cook … they don’t put those flavors in the wine, it’s kinda like how rabbit tastes like chicken.
This is an appetizer I designed that can handle red, white and sparkling pairings. How? With cooked cilantro you have a flavor that pairs well with all wines … it’s bright enough to stand up to unoaked whites and woody enough to pair with an oaked red. I used ginger to bring a zing to your mouth to keep up with the bubbles in a sparkling wine. Water chestnuts not only give a satisfying crunch to this appetizer they also have a woodiness to them that pairs well with oaked wines … white pepper also has that woodiness and a bit of zip to handle peppery reds. If you want to make this wheat-free coat the chicken in cornstarch instead of the panko crumbs.
Black tea in the dipping sauce? Guess what? Tea has tannin!
Asian Chicken Bites
- 2 pounds of ground chicken thighs
- 1 large egg
- 1 bunch of cilantro – chopped fine
- 3 green onions – sliced thin
- 1 teaspoon of kosher salt
- 3 teaspoons of fresh ginger – chopped fine
- 8-oz. can of water chestnuts -- chopped somewhat fine
- ½ teaspoon of white pepper
- 1 1/2 cup of panko breadcrumbs
- ½ cup of olive oil
- Dipping sauce:
- 2 tablespoons of light soy sauce
- ¼ cup of black tea
- Step 1 Stir together chicken, egg, cilantro, green onions, salt, ginger, water chestnuts, and white pepper.
- Step 2 Spread ½ of panko on dinner plate.
- Step 3 Have a small bowl filled with about 2 cups of water.
- Step 4 Wet your hands in bowl grab some chicken mix about 1 ½ tablespoon each and softly shape into a ball.
- Step 5 Gently roll completed balls onto panko until lightly coated.
- Step 6 Put balls on a baking sheet, and cover.
- Step 7 Rinse your hands in the water bowl between each ball so your hands don’t become a sticky mess.
- Step 8 Add more panko to plate when needed.
- Step 9 Heat up ¼ cup of olive oil in a 12-inch skillet over medium heat, and cook about half of the balls, until firm and golden, around six to eight minutes. The balls may flatten and that’s perfectly normal.
- Step 10 Transfer to paper towels to drain.
- Step 11 Add oil when needed to skillet and finish the rest of the chicken.