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Archive for November, 2010|Monthly archive page

Marinades and Glazes for Seafood and Fowl

In The Kitchen on November 24, 2010 at 4:24 pm

Keeping with the theme of always trying to be prepared ahead of time during the hectic holiday season, I like to have on hand a few great marinades and glazes that will go well with both seafood and chicken.  When last minute meal planning arise, either for a small family or a large group, they will save you plenty of time and you will look like you were in the kitchen all day.

Honey Soy Marinade…

¼ cup good honey

¼ cup soy sauce

1 crushed garlic clove

3 tablespoons Saki

½ teaspoon Chinese five spice

2 tablespoons brown sugar

Whip by hand all ingredients, keeps under refrigeration for up to 3 weeks.  For chicken, marinate 2 to 3 hours covered, before putting on the grill. Seafood goes great with this marinade also, baking or pan searing after a 30 minute marinating really brings out the oriental flavors.

Roast Garlic, Honey Mustard and Lemon Glaze

2 large garlic bulbs

Juice of 2 lemons

Zest of 1 large lemon

6 tablespoons of olive oil

6 tablespoons good honey

1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar

6 tablespoons water

2 tablespoons Dijon mustard

3 tablespoons low fat yogurt

S&P to taste

Roast the garlic bulbs for 25 to 30 minutes @ 400degrees until golden brown.

Blend all ingredients together till liquidized, season with S&P to taste.  This glaze will last refrigerated for more than 2 weeks. Chicken wings work well with this glaze, just put wings in a bowl pour glaze over, toss well in bowl then roast in oven on sheet pan till brown. Also any chicken on the bone left to marinate 2 to 3 hours before putting on grill will work out nicely.

Red Currant Glaze

12 oz. Red Currant jelly

3 tablespoons Brandy

3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

1 teaspoon fresh chopped thyme

¼ teaspoon white pepper

Put all ingredients in a shallow pan and simmer over low heat, continually stirring with a whisk. Let simmer approximately 8 to 10 minutes till liquid is fully incorporated together. This can be brushed on any fowl, chicken or even fresh seafood before roasting in oven or cooking on the grill. Use for basting your fowl, chicken or seafood as it is cooking.

Keeping any of these on hand will come in handy with all the rushing around during the holidays.  Great family meals are a breeze when you’re prepared a little ahead. The rest is up to you, I hope this helps and from all of us at the Litchfield Saltwater Grille we wish you a Happy Thanksgiving.

Albe Galotta SWG chef and Cellar Master


The wine you bring to the Thanksgiving table…side dish or center stage?

In Sommelier Corner, Uncategorized on November 23, 2010 at 4:07 pm

Thanksgiving Pick #1 J. Lohr Valdiguie

Cases of Beaujolais Nouveau are shipped from France and packed onto every wine shop’s shelves each November.  Beaujolais, made from the Gamy grape, produces a wine similar in style to Pinot Noir yet lighter, fruiter, and meant to be consumed young.  The most well known producer of this traditional Fall favorite is Georges Deboeuf.  If you want to think outside of the box and still have that same light, fruity style try an American producer J. Lohr.  This California winery makes a wine called Valdiguie from the same Gamy grape that will pair perfectly with your turkey. On the wine list at the Saltwater Grille for $22 a bottle this wine is a steal. You can even serve it slightly chilled.

Thanksgiving Pick #2 Paul Hobbs Pinot Noir

If you really want to splurge and impress everyone with a wine the Wine Spectator currently hails one of the best in the world go for a Paul Hobbs Pinot Noir.  The 2008 Russian River Valley Pinot by Hobbs was just announced as number six in the famous yearly rankings by Wine Spectator Magazine.  The Litchfield Saltwater Grille has had the 2004 vintage on the list for years now and it has been ageing beautifully.  Shopping Tip: 2004, 2006, and 2008 are some of the best Pinot Noir vintages for California.

Thanksgiving Pick #3 Brancott Pinot Noir

Pinot Noir really is the perfect pairing for Turkey and all the sides that go with it.  There are so many styles of Pinot Noir to choose from.  California and Oregon producers are making awesome Pinot’s.  Oregon wine producers tend to be a bit quieter in their advertising but I urge you to seek out the gems in Oregon  (Hatcher, Domaine Serene, and The Four Graces to name just a few).  Burgundy’s are classic and sophisticated. My favorite: Brancott Pinot Noir, New Zealand.  Medium bodied, earthy, easy drinking, and just the right price.  The Saltwater Grille offers Brancott Pinot Noir by the glass for $10 and by the bottle as well.

Thanksgiving Pick #4 Kim Crawford Un Oaked Chardonnay, New Zealand Pick # 5 Brancott New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc

Kim Crawford Un Oaked Chard, New Zealand is the perfect white wine to bring as a hostess gift.  This is a white that is universally liked by both Chardonnay and Pinot Grigio drinkers so you are sure to please everyone.  It is so easy drinking and pairs great with food.  For a second white I will have to go with my current favorite producer Brancott.  The Brancott New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc has the acidity and crispness required of a white wine to pair with the rich gravy and stuffing.  Both the Kim Crawford Chard ($10 a glass) and Brancott Sauvignon Blanc ($9 a glass) are offered at The Saltwater Grille.

Brett Clugston, Sommelier

festive libations this season…

In Sommelier Corner on November 23, 2010 at 2:02 am

Our new seasonal cocktail list is debuting this Friday November 26th.  Stop by the Grille to sample a few and enjoy live music by Mike Parrot in the lounge from 6:30 to 9:30.  Plus… Happy Hour takes place 4-6 pm on Friday.  Here is a sampling of what we will be serving in the way of festive libations this season…

Cranberry with your Turkey? The SWG Cran Tini is the perfect stat to your Turkey Day weekend.  Simply… Stoli Orange Vodka mixed with tart cranberry (in the form of juice), shaken and served in a martini glass with a few festive cranberries floating on top.  Perfect to satisfy the November cranberry cravings.

Yes accomplishing a night of shopping is a reason to reward yourself!  It doesn’t get any more decadent than this: The SWG White Chocolate Raspberry Tini.  Stoli Razz Vodka, Godiva White Chocolate, a touch of Cream, White Crème de Caco, and Chambord.  Then as if there were not enough ingredients in this drink already the cocktail is poured into a chilled glass with crushed fresh raspberries!  Let Elise the bartender mix this one for you.

White Chocolate Raspberry Martini


Take a winter vacation from your standard Cosmo order and try the SWG Calvados Sidecar.  It’s a seasonal twist on an old traditional cocktail recipe.  The original Sidecar, (invented in a Parisian bar during World War I) Cognac, Cointreau, and Lemon Juice mixed and served straight up Martini style with a twist is making a comeback in many new forms after being overshadowed by the Cosmo for many years. We choose to add a sugared rim and a bit of orange juice.  Let us know what you think.


Calvados Sidecar

Is it a cocktail or is it dessert?  We have a plentiful list of options in this category: The Chocolate Macaroon, Peppermint Russian, and Thin Mint to name just a few.  Happy Hour is the perfect time to try a new cocktail while enjoying half price on the entire lounge menu.

Peppermint Russian


Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

Brett Clugston

Everyone Loves Seafood on the Holidays…

In The Kitchen on November 17, 2010 at 3:16 pm

Every year around this time the thought of planning your holiday menus starts to take shape. Fresh seafood dishes have always been the focal point of many of our family’s wonderful holiday meals. As far back as I can remember fresh seafood of every type and every preparation has set the stage for a gala gourmet holiday menu. Christmas Eve dinner with its traditional menu based on the Feast of The Seven Fishes was always my favorite. Getting the chance to enjoy so many of the ocean’s offerings at one seating seemed to be a treat that I waited for all year long. Fresh Steamed Littleneck Clams, Jumbo Shrimp Scampi, Black Mussels in spicy red sauce, Fried Smelts with Anchovy Garlic dip, Calamari salad, Baked Oysters with Spinach, Pasta with Shrimp and olive oil, Fresh Lobsters, Grilled Sea Bass, and Lemon Sole were always on the menu. Other great seafood items were also served depending on the available fresh catch of the day at the local fish market.  Coming from a large Italian family, many of our relatives and friends that join us for holiday meals bring along a dish to add to the festivities. This year I am making a dish that was introduced to me many years ago by an uncle that lived most of his life in Spain. This creation is in the style of many of the dishes that come from Spain’s coastal regions, this one from the cosmopolitan city of Barcelona. With its simple preparation any beautiful plate appearance, this dish could easily become one of your family’s new favorites.


Two 3oz. portions of fresh cod loin per person.  Dip each piece in flour, then egg wash then in seasoned bread crumbs. Pan Fry each piece of cod in a shallow pan with a small amount of oil, till crisp on all sides. Place in warming oven till sauce is made.

Sauce preparation…Use same pan, pour off oil, and reheat on medium flame. Start by browning a small amount of chopped shallots along with 2 chopped garlic cloves.  Add in 12 oz. home cooked marinara sauce, a splash of fresh chicken stock or white wine, season with S&P, crushed chili flakes and a bit of ground oregano.   Finish sauce with 1 tablespoon of small capers in their juice, some fresh chopped leaf parsley and ½ tablespoon of whole butter.  Plate presentation…..Spoon sauce on to plate, top with 2 crisp pieces of the fully cooked Cod, garnish with more chopped parsley, serve with crisp oven potatoes, and maybe some French green beans.

For many years this hearty, healthy entrée has been one of the signature dishes on the menu at a past family restaurant. During the years we owned the restaurant regular customers always asked for the recipe, which never was given out. It did slip out recently when some great friends asked to include it in their family’s “Most favorite dishes book” that they were putting together.  I figured they paid for it already with many so return visits to enjoy the now famous Cod Barcelona. What I didn’t tell them was that I was going to write this BLOG and tell the whole world… so I hope you enjoy…

Click here to download a printable recipe of Cod Barcelona

Albe Galotta Chef,  Cellar Master and Chef

Unexpected Pairings Bring Life To The Party…

In Sommelier Corner on November 15, 2010 at 6:01 pm

When Patsy Wright, events manager to the international beverage giant Pernod Ricard,   first dreamed up this night, she knew it had to different.  Patsy knew that if she was going to do her job and do it well she had to use a different approach.  Trying to tell someone what to eat or drink has always been hard enough. But Patsy was determined to show us how well some of the most unexpected food and drink pairings could complement each other.

With approximately 10 guests seated in one of the elegant dining rooms at the Saltwater Grille, Patsy quickly got our attention.  The first course came at us with Patsy circling the table pouring a generous amount of Brancott Sauvignon Blanc in a shooter glass filled with a fresh shucked Blue Point oyster.  Bottoms up followed by a quick, “So do you think Oysters and Sauvignon Blanc go well together?” was the next thing I heard.  From this point on Patsy had our attention.  The crisp citrus flavor of the New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc balanced perfectly with the briny taste of the local, fresh oysters.  Baja fish tacos, one of the kitchens staples, was the next spicy seafood dish, that when paired with the same wine, came off complimenting each other wonderfully.

Sticking with the overall theme of the Saltwater Grille, fresh seafood also pairs perfect with the right red wines, Patsy informed us all. Chef Albert’s herb seared rare Ahi Tuna with wasabi and soy seemed to be the perfect dish to pair with the lite fruit forward  2008 Brancott Pinot Noir.  It’s not always white with fish and red with meat anymore, we were finding out.  The Saltwater Grille has always been known for its fantastic fresh Salmon and tonight was the night we brought it to the next level. Pan seared Atlantic Salmon with a to die for lemon dill cream sauce  turned out to be a dish of enormous pleasure,  bringing smiles to everyone’s faces, as Patsy poured us a little more of the wonderful Pinot Noir and encouraged us to drink up.

Next we moved on to enjoying the pleasures of Sandeman’s extensive line of fine Portuguese Portos. Now don’t jump ahead to far and assume Patsy was ready for dessert just yet, she still had some savory plans in store. That’s right when you least expect it someone goes and creates a knock out dish of homemade Savory Butternut Squash Ravioli, and pairs it with a 10 year old Tawny Porto, as the crowd roars. What most of us thought was to pair a port with a sweet dessert, but again we all agreed that the young slightly sweet flavor of the Tawny port more than accented the New England flavors of the Squash Ravioli. Sometimes the unexpected turns out to be a real treat.

Try the Founders reserve chilled on ice with an orange slice.


Homemade desserts at the Grille have always been traditionally offered with a variety of Ports, this evening Patsy introduced us to some of our new favorites. Chef Albert’s ever famous warm Bread Pudding, with rum caramel sauce, brought out the taste of the 20 year old Tawny Port better than expected, or could it have been the other way around?  Sandeman’s youngest port, The Ruby and also its flagship item, Founders Reserve we’re next up. Both of these paired with the Fresh Orange Cream Cheese Frosted Carrot cake seemed to bring the dinners to their knees.  I was convinced it had something to do with the threat of 2 more courses of gourmet desserts still to arrive, while Patsy was sticking to her belief in her Ports. None the sooner we were served the most decadent homemade Black Bottom Pie, and a LBV 2004 Sandeman that created just the right combination of mouth feel and flavors that any gourmand would want with a last meal. It must be over someone said, caus’ the menu doesn’t have any more room and either do I.  Never wanting the show to end, as any gourmet kitchen would love to have it, we were surprised by one last creation that brought us all right back to senses. What could be more continental then ending a glorious meal with a bit of local Cheese?  I guess it could only be topped by one thing, and just like the perfect host  that Patsy was all evening, she circled the room pouring a generous amount of the Ruby Port directly over each person’s portion of warm soft local Stilton cheese.  Then Patsy smiled as she watched all of us smear every last bit of Port soaked cheese on the bread crostini as we       somehow  found room to finish it all.   When we did, and only when we were truly finished, we smiled back.

A crostini topped with cheese, fresh fruit, and a bit of port drizzled on top is the perfect Port pairing.


Albe Galotta

An Iron Fist In A Velvet Glove

In Sommelier Corner on November 6, 2010 at 2:58 pm

Scharder Vineyards Father and Son

Cabernet Sauvignon from California has long been known as a big, bold straight forward wine softened by its balance and smoothness, giving it, its own style and fineness.   After many great vintages in the past century, the new benchmark for this millennium looks like the 2007 Vintage. With its near perfect growing conditions, small yields, and mild even summer weather the 2007 vintage exemplifies all that California is capable of.

A recent trip to Las Vegas to attend this year’s “New World Wine Experience” offered up a chance to taste 8 great California Cabernets from this stellar vintage. The Wine Spectator Program has awarded this vintage a staggering 99 points overall, along with a high emphasis on aging potential. Where else can you sit down with the owners of some of the best vineyards in California, and their Wine Masters and drink plenty of their sought-after wines from the new best vintage?

Keeping in mind that “All ships rise, with the rise of the tide.” There are plenty of great wines from 2007; it just so happens that this list contains 8 of the VERY BEST!  Not listed in any special order of price or preference, and remembering that the owners and wine makers are tasting along with us, this is what we enjoyed.

Altamura Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon

Caymus Cab. Sauvignon Napa Valley Special Selection

Coligin IX Estate Napa Valley

Corra Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley

Peter Michael Les Pavots Knights Valley

Ramey Cab.  Sauvignon Oakville Pedregal Vineyard

Schrader Cab. Sauvignon Napa Valley Beckstoffer

Spottswoode Cab. Sauvignon St. Helena Estate

All these wines showed a big juicy, fruit driven, complex, rich, tone, along with a lush texture and balanced structure. Bright notes of Cherry, Plum, Vanilla, Mocha Currants and Spice round out their   glorious flavors.

Maybe it was the unreal list of super wines at this tasting, or maybe it was seeing the pleasure on the wine makers faces as we enjoyed their creations. Great California Cabernets really do has a sense of strength and texture. Whatever it was that made that night so memorable it has left me with a better sense of understanding why it’s said that a Great California Cabernet is like “An Iron Fist In a Velvet Glove.”

Alber Galotta, SWG

Matt Kramer, Wine Spectator

James Laube, Wine Spectator

Host a Wine Tasting Party…

In Sommelier Corner on November 4, 2010 at 12:47 am

Wine is a top priority here at The Litchfield Saltwater Grille.  What better place to host a wine tasting party this season with your friends and family or as your annual holiday get together for the office!  As the in house sommelier, I will design wine and food pairings (for either a seated meal or a casual hors d’oeuvres style party) based on your tastes.  Tasting notes are provided for each guest to take home.  Here is a menu from a recent wine tasting party hosted here at The Grille in October with some experts from the wine tasting notes.

Upon arrival a display of sparkling wine topped with canapés…

N/V  Domaine Ste Michelle Brut Columbia Valley Sparkling Wine

Smoked Salmon Canapes, Horseradish Crème Fraiche, Caviar, Dill

New Zealand Wine and Cheese Table

Assorted Artisan Cheeses, Marinated Olives paired with…

2007  Cairnbrae Pinot Noir Marlborough New Zealand and 2008  Brancott Sauvignon Blanc Marlborough New Zealand

Italian Pairing…

2007  Chianti DOCG  Cetamura Coltibuono  Italy paired with a Roasted Red Pepper Crostini, Italian Table Cheese, EVOO

For dessert.. Mini Chocolate Mousse Cups, Garnished with Berries and whipped Cream

And passed throughout the event…

Grilled Shrimp Wrapped in Bacon

Hot Mini Crab Melts

Hangar Steak Sates, Horseradish Cream

Tasting Notes…

2007  Cairnbrae Pinot Noir, Marlborough New Zealand …Cairnbrae is a botique winery producing quality wines in the favored Rapaura district of Marlborough New Zealand neighboring the well known Cloudy Bay and Corbans Stoneleigh vineyards. A typical New Zealand style Pinot Noir.  Earthy, medium to light bodied, translucent in color.  Cherry, Subtle Spice, Hints of Tobacco.

2008  Brancott Sauvignon Blanc, Marlborough New Zealand …Gooseberry is the typical flavor associated with New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc’s.  This Sauvignon Blanc by the Brancott winery exemplifies what a New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc should taste like.  Much more zingy and fruit driven than a Sancerre. Tons of tropical fruit: mango, passion fruit, kiwi, grapefruit.

2008 Chianti DOCG  Cetamura Coltibuono Italy …Chianti wines are made from predominantly the Sangiovese grape blended with Canaiolo, and Malvasia Bianca. A typical Chianti flavor profile is a medium bodied red with cherry, hints of violet, and well balanced acidity. The Cetamura Coltibuono has and earthy feeling and is meant to be enjoyed with food.

SWG Sommelier, Brett Clugston