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.