Category: Wine

For generations, eastern NC fishermen and their families have eaten shad roe in the springtime. Spring is the time of year when the Shad fish “run.” The Shad do not literally grow legs and run but it is a “run” when the Shad fish (a member of the Herring family) come in from the ocean and lay their eggs in the freshwater estuaries of the North Carolina sounds. Most people in the Piedmont or Mountains of North Carolina have not prepared nor tasted Shad roe before. Since Shad roe is limited to a couple weeks of the year, here in Raleigh we are fortunate to have Locals Seafood, who sources and sells this specialty product!

I teach organic gardening, canning, fermentation, dehydration and food preservation workshops at THE GARDENER’S KITCHEN. Learning and teaching new methods of traditional food preservation and storage for locally available food is very exciting to me! Due to its limited availability (and my year-long craving for it!) I made a discovery of a way to preserve the roe for use throughout the year until the next run the following year: Bottarga!

If you have not heard of or tasted Bottarga before, I encourage you to consider making it this year and use our native NC shad roe or other NC fish roe as recommended by Lin Peterson at LOCALS SEAFOOD.

Making Bottarga is easy and provides a delicious and nutritious food made from local products from our NC coast.

Bottarga is salted, pressed (sometimes) and dried fish roe used primarily in Mediterranean cuisine and traditionally made of tuna or grey mullet roe. It has a definitive taste of the sea, so it is used sparingly. However, if you love the taste of anchovies in Caesar salad dressing or on pizza or smoked fish you will absolutely love Bottarga!

My favorite way to enjoy Bottarga is how they serve it traditionally in Italy – grated or thinly sliced over pasta with a garlic and olive oil sauce. To add some diversity to the pasta dish, add some lemon, tomato, celery to the sauce and purchase a bottle or two of Vermentino or un-oaked Chenin Blanc wine and thanks to the NC fishermen you will have a little piece of Sardinia right in your home!

I am convinced this would be a fantastic new product for some adventurous North Carolinian to produce and market. Check out the online prices of Bottarga from Italy! The shad roe Bottarga I made was wonderful and very easy to produce at home and much more reasonably priced. That’s why I always say local food is the best food in my book!

Below are my two favorite links for making fish roe into Bottarga and for cooking with Bottarga.

How to Make Bottarga

Mario Batali – Bottarga and Pasta Recipe

If you wish to cook the Shad roe in the traditional manner and not make Bottarga, check out this recipe and article from NPR called Cooking with Fresh Roe: A Rite of Spring


Fresh Shad Roe ( Red color) and Sea Bass Roe from Locals Seafood

Shad and Sea Bass Bottarga - salted and dried Roe

I will not enter the BBQ debate.  Every state, probably every county in the USA, has a version of BBQ.  I like all of them!  Each version and variety of BBQ has a special character and eating pleasure to offer.

North Carolina barbecue sandwich

North Carolina barbecue sandwich

I live in the eastern Piedmont of NC and the BBQ around here is chopped and made of pork.  However, I grew up on sliced pork BBQ in the western part of the state so I have tasted all the variations in between!  Eastern NC BBQ is chopped and tossed with a vinegar based sauce so the spice and vinegar taste permeates throughout the pork whereas the sliced pork version in the western part places the emphasis on the pork taste.

In all the years I have eaten NC BBQ, it never occurred to me to pair wine with the various BBQ styles.  While attending a rosé wine tasting at The Wine Feed, Phil and Phillip suggested a rosé would be good to pair with NC down east BBQ; I could not resist testing out the idea.  They were right as usual!

Imagine this – a fresh yeast roll from La Farm Bakery, filled with homemade cabbage, carrot, green garlic and onion slaw, and Wilbur’s pork BBQ served with Bastianich Rosato 2009 wine.  Just try it one Friday night after a long workweek.  Take the Wilbur’s BBQ you bought on your way home from Emerald Isle Beach as you were passing thru Goldsboro, NC and then stashed in your freezer. Heat it up; make a quick simple clean slaw, take the La Farm Bakery Yeast rolls and pop them in the oven at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 10 minutes and pour a glass of Bastianich Rosato from The Wine Feed.  Make yourself a “sangwich” (Southern Italian for “Sandwich”) and kick back for a taste of NC and the start of a happy weekend.

I ‘m just saying – it is good to be in NC!


NC barbecue with Bastianich rosé

NC barbecue with Bastianich rosé

The Gardener’s Kitchen Homemade Slaw Recipe

1 peeled, grated fresh carrot

1 small head fresh savoy cabbage thinly sliced (3 to 4 cups)

1 fresh green garlic – white bulb and green leaves minced

1 orange or yellow bell pepper thinly sliced

3 Tablespoons grated sweet onion

3 – 4 Tablespoons organic mayonnaise

Juice from ½ organic lemon

Sea Salt and Pepper to taste

Mix all ingredients in a bowl!

Note:  Fresh veggies are important for slaw so try to get the freshest cabbage, carrots, peppers garlic and onions from your local farmers.  This slaw is lightly dressed with mayonnaise.  Keeping the taste simple and the mayonnaise light lets the taste of the pork and spices in down east BBQ and complementary taste of the rosé shine thru.  If you like lots of mayonnaise in your slaw you will need to add more mayonnaise.   Also, I have been known to add a little horseradish to this slaw so feel free to add whatever condiments, spices and acidic alternatives (vinegar) which will make you happy eating your BBQ with the rosé!

It has been my lifelong dream to spend a birthday in Vienna with my friends and waltz the night away. Until that day, I have found a great wine to keep the dream alive:  Weingut Wien Cobenzl Gemischter Satz Classic 2010

The Wine Feed poured this lovely white wine produced in the city of Vienna! Cobenzl is made from grapes grown within the city limits of  Vienna. The winemaking history on this 1650 acre plot goes back to Roman times!

Weingut Wien Cobenzl has a light and enticing floral aroma. On the palate it is full of juicy green and yellow apple as well as pear. The herbal tones are dry and refreshing with crisp acidity and light citrus notes on the finish.

Cobenzl Wein - Gemischter Satz - Classic 2010

Delicious white field blend from Vienna!

The Slow Food Foundation has awarded this wine with the Ark of Taste and Presidia.

The wine was so intriguing in its taste and its story that I knew it deserved to be paired with a food with an equally interesting story.

As good fortune would have it, one afternoon while visiting a friend in the downtown Mordecai Historic District of Raleigh, I found myself searching through his cookbook collection.  I found a copy of Around My French Table by Dorie Greenspan.  Dorie, a creative and inspired cook, worked with Julia Child on her many famous cookbooks. Not only is My French Table lovely to look at, the recipes are simple yet maintain the flair that allows a home cook to feel comfortable with trying new recipes.

As many reviewers of Dorie’s cookbook have acknowledged, Dorie captures the taste and feel of the French eating experience. However, she successfully adapts that experience to the ingredients available here.

During my visits to France I have always been impressed with the freshness, simplicity and elegance of the home cooking.  Fresh, locally grown food is available in stores, or, better yet, is available from home gardens and is prepared in tune with the seasons.  I will never forget one of my best meals in France–fresh steamed asparagus, picked straight from the garden, washed and place in a steamer for less than 5 minutes then served with a white cheese sauce, French bread and a glass of white wine.  Heaven was less than a step away!

I also love the sequence of a meal in France when friends and family are in attendance.   Appetizers with wine and conversation start the fun. Nothing is rushed or hurried along.  The pace of the meal is driven by the organic interaction of people, wine and food.

I found this recipe for Salmon Rillettes (pronounced “ReeYet”) in Greenspan’s Around My French Table and saw some potential for it to complement the Viennese wine.

Dorie’s Salmon Rillettes is reminiscent of so many wonderful appetizers I had in France.  Traditionally, rillettes in France are made with pork or heavier richer meats than salmon.  The idea of a less pungent style of rillettes, as well as the ease of making this dish, attracted me to it.

Salmon Rillettes

Salmon Rillettes

Yield: 8 servings


1 lemon

1 small red chile

1/2 cup white wine or white Vermouth

1/2 cup water

1 bay leaf

5 white peppercorns

5 coriander seeds

2 small spring onions, peeled, long green tops removed and reserved, or 1 shallot

1/2 pound salmon filet, skin and bones removed, cut into small (about 1/2 inch) cubes

1/4 pound smoked salmon (you can add up to 2 ounces more, if you’d like), cut into small (about 1/4 inch) dice

3 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened

2 to 3 pinches of pink peppercorns, crushed with your fingers

Salt and freshly ground white pepper


Using a vegetable peeler, remove a strip of zest from the lemon and toss it into a medium-sized saucepan; finely grate the rest of the zest and keep the lemon at hand.  With a small knife, cut away a sliver of the red chile, discard the seeds and toss the sliver into the saucepan; seed and finely dice the remainder of the chile and hold on to it for the moment.

Pour the wine or Vermouth and water into the pan, add the bay leaf, peppercorns, coriander, onion tops (if you’re using spring onions) and 1/2 teaspoon salt and put the pan over medium heat.  Bring the mix, essentially a court bouillon, to the boil, lower the heat, cover and simmer gently for 5 minutes.

Drop the cubes of fresh salmon into the pan, cover and poach the fish for just 1 minute.  Turn everything into a strainer, drain, and then transfer the salmon, minus whatever seasonings have stuck to it, to a mixing bowl.

While the salmon is cooling, finely chop the spring onions or peel, trim and finely dice the shallot.  If you’re using a shallot, rinse the dice under cold water and pat dry.

With the back of a fork, lightly mash the poached salmon, then toss the smoked salmon, lemon zest, diced chile and chopped onion into the bowl.  Season with salt and pepper and give everything a good stir.  Add the soften butter and use the fork to stir and mash it into the mixture until it’s well incorporated and you have a thick spread.  Squeeze about half of the lemon’s juice into the bowl, stir it in and season the rillettes with salt and pepper.  Taste and add more lemon juice (it’s nice when it’s lemony), salt and pepper, if you’d like, then stir in the pink peppercorns.

Pack the rillettes into a jar (a canning jar is traditional) or bowl, press a piece of plastic wrap against the surface and chill for at least 2 hours – you want it to be firm – or for up to overnight.

Serving: Rillettes is served as a spread, so have lots of bread, crackers or toast available.  If you’d like to dress it up, serve the rillettes on warm blini or spread on small rounds of toasted brioche (think canapes) and top with salmon roe.

Storing:  Packed airtight, the rillettes will keep in the refrigerator for up to 2 days.

GZ NOTE: Don’t be afraid to add more butter!  I found I needed to add another tablespoon of butter to make the salmon adhere together and be spreadable on a cracker or bread. 

Source:  Around My French Table by Dorie Greenspan

Check out more about Dorie and Around My French Table.