A three course menu from the BBQ – theme French fine dining

caviar en champagne

Written by Joost Janssen.

Of course we support our locals and regularly order something, but there is also a charm in cooking for yourself. Our shared hobby is good food and drinks; beautiful dishes with ditto wines. Preferably a bit refined. I also like to BBQ all year round. People often react with amazement: “BBQ and fine dining, that’s not possible at all, is it?” I am going to prove in this blog that it is.

Wow. What crazy times…And yet there is good news! Dry January lays behind us, the days are getting longer and the lockdown has been extended again. Of course you should take that last part with a grain of salt. We regularly let ourselves be surprised by a random wine, sometimes pleasantly so and sometimes we don’t even empty the glass.

I have already registered for the refresher course in terrace drinking. There is a lot of interest in this course, so the organization is still looking for a suitable place and time. Until then we make it as much fun as possible at home!

A little about myself

Joost Janssen, 39 years old, working at the fire department. I don’t extinguish fire anymore, but there is still a healthy passion for fire. I am in love with Myrthe for years. The two children waltz, smell and slurp their orange juice…. That says enough about their experiences. Wine is a common hobby and we are almost certified SDEN2 (the exam can’t take place because of…). I would classify myself as an advanced amateur taster. And I put that passion for fire into practice by barbecuing.

bbq fire

Menu in the making
When pairing, you can choose to let the wine or dishes lead the way, or you can combine those two approaches. I am led by both the wine and the ingredients. As far as I’m concerned, a good menu has at least a starter, a main course and a dessert. I chose the theme French fine dining (winter) BBQ.

Apéritif

When I cook with the kids, brioche bread is always a hit. Super easy and super delicious! When I think of brioche, I think of champagne. When I think of champagne, I think of caviar. Caviar pairs nicely with a piece of beef and when I think of beef as an appetizer, I think of tartare. Voilà, the appetizer is basically defined.

Now for the refinement: Toasted Brioche Bread, a delicious piece of slow-cooked Wagyu beef topped with a spoonful of caviar from @Persiancaviar [www.persiancaviar.nl] and a quail yolk. I prepare the bread and meat on the BBQ and I also smoke the quail yolk very briefly on my Barbecue.

caviar and champagne

I can see you salivating and thinking “what do we drink with it?” Well, brioche and caviar scream champagne. But does it combine with beef? Yes it does! During one of our trips to the Champagne region I learned that it can be combined perfectly. Choose a champagne with at least 50% pinot noir, but preferably a Blanc de noirs. I chose a Blanc de noirs Brut from Chateau Devaux and that turned out to be a great combination! A house from the Côtes des Bar, an area in the south of Champagne with lots of pinot noir. A beautiful golden color with a light pink edge. In the nose rich aromas of apple and pear, almond, brioche and vanilla. The palate is broad and nicely balanced with a pleasant freshness and butteriness in the lingering finish.

Plat Principal

When I think of meat in winter, I immediately think of game. The hunting season opened on October 15 and continues through March. A nice piece of canard from the BBQ seems like the way to go. The French are crazy about duck, a piece of meat that in my opinion is too little on the menu in the Netherlands. With duck you quickly think of a combination with orange. That is a little too obvious and so I continued to look for ideas. I found a dish with plums that inspired me.

Carbs. Although a nice puree à la Bocuse would not be out of place with this dish, I choose something else. Rice? Better not. A product that goes well with winter is the topinambour (Jerusalem artichoke, ed.).

Vegetables. A fresher, perhaps a little more acidic, counterpart goes well with the ripe, full-bodied taste of plums. The eye wants something too, so I bring color to the plate by adding yellow tomatoes.

The refinement: Sous-vide cooked duck breast fillet with herbs, grilled on the BBQ. To this a gravy of smoked plums and a creamy mousseline of Jerusalem artichoke served with roasted yellow tomato. Finished with a vene cress (tastes like sorrel, ed.) and a crunch of roasted hazelnut. Lots of flavor on the plate!

duckbrest bbq

The plum gravy will be fairly dominant with its sweetness due to the use of PX. I am therefore looking for a wine that offers a good counterpart to balance everything nicely. A fruity red wine becomes less fruity and a wine with a lot of tannin becomes harder. Since I write for Winespicegirl, she was born in Italy, I am looking for a wine with the same origin. A wine with body to counterbalance the rich flavors, and with soft tannins. You probably already guessed it, I choose a Barolo from Piedmont, from the house Il Pozzo (DOCG 2014).

In the nose earthy notes reminiscent of wet leaves and leather. A light scent of smoke. In the mouth a wine with body, red fruit, black pepper and nice round tannins. Not a very high flavor intensity. A wine that stands well on its own and tastes good with the dish just presented. Are there better combinations imaginable? Certainly! Next time I would look for a Barolo with even more body. Read here about another fine Italian wine that would be a great match.

Dessert

According to good French custom a Plat de fromages would be presented after the main course. Something about good intentions makes me skip this course and immediately think of the dessert.

I like chocolate in its purest form and the glow of the coals on the BBQ sometimes make me think of lava. Chocolate and lava: Moulleux!

Moulleux. A simple cake from which, if prepared properly, chocolate lava will flow when cut. Nice on the plate and a whole experience at the table. To make it a bit more special I add some orange zest and cinnamon to the cake batter. Typical winter flavors.

Your mouth will water even more when I tell you what wine I came up with. Chocolate is usually paired with a Banyuls or mitered wine like port or PX. I searched a bit longer and found a Black Muscat from California by the house Elysium (2017).

moulleux bbq

A great dessert wine with notes of strawberry and raspberry in the nose that also reappear in the mouth, alongside fresh acidity and a light touch of cherry. Deliciously supple and a richly long finish. Despite the higher alcohol percentage, not burning in the throat.

A nice strong espresso to finish things up!

I hope this blog has inspired you and given you insight into my considerations when creating a menu, pairing and the possibilities of combining the toughness of the BBQ with fine dining. Who may I challenge?

Thanks for reading!

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