6 Secrets of Cooking With Wine
Raise a glass to this low-fat, high-flavor ingredient.
You know those bottles of wine you picked up because they were on sale, and
now you're wondering what you are going to do with them? I've got your answer:
Cook and bake with the wine. You probably wouldn't want to cook with a special
bottle of wine but those wild-card bottles collecting dust in the pantry -- why
When I think of wine, I think of a great fat substitute in recipes. I'm probably unusual
in this regard, but I actually use wine more often in cooking than I do as a
beverage with dinner.
When you take some of the fat out of dishes, you usually need to add another
ingredient to replace the lost moisture. Here are some examples of how wine can
do just that:
- Instead of sauteing veggies in heaps of butter or oil, you can saute them
in a smaller amount of oil plus some wine for flavor and moisture.
- Instead of making a marinade with 1/2 cup of oil, decrease the oil to 1/4
cup and add 1/4 cup wine.
- Instead of adding 3/4 cup of oil to a cake mix recipe, add 3/4 cup of white
or dessert wine to the batter.
Here are my favorite ways to use wine in light cooking:
- Wine helps cook and add flavor to fish. Deep-fried fish dipped in
tartar sauce, albeit tasty, defeats the nutritional purpose of eating fish. One
way to add flavor and moisture to fish without adding fat is to cook it with
wine. You can add wine to the pan while the fish is simmering, poach the fish
over a saucepan of boiling wine, or drizzle fish with a tablespoon or two of
wine and bake it in a foil package.
- Wine is a great ingredient in marinades. Wine is basically an acid
ingredient (which helps tenderize the outside of the meat) and it has a lot of
flavor. The wine-based marinade helps keep meat, poultry, or seafood moist
while it cooks, too.
- Wine can help cook and simmer foods. Add wine to dishes you're
cooking in a skillet on the stove, in a slow cooker, or in the oven. Simmered
along with the food, it adds flavor and moisture to whatever dish you're
- Wine can be used in baking, too! For certain types of cakes, using
wine or sherry in place of some of the fat not only lightens up the cake but
adds complimentary flavors.
7 Secrets of Cooking With Wine
Ready to start experimenting with wine cookery? Here are seven basics you
1. Play off the subtle flavors in wine.
Here are some of the subtle food-like flavors that can come through in wine
-- which you may want to capitalize on by adding some to dishes containing
- White wine: melon, apple, pineapple, pear, citrus, vanilla, caramel,
olives, and mushrooms
- Red wine: berries, peaches, currants, plums, cherries, oranges, chocolate,