DINNER MADE EASY: WINTER PIZZA & VIOGNIER
A mild winter this year here in Paso Robles Wine Country has us leaving the big reds in the cellar and reaching for refreshing whites at the end of a long day. With the release of our 2009 Fortuity Viognier, we challenged local food writer and blogger, Laura Zolnoski, to create an easy weeknight recipe to match the complexities and textures that made our Viognier a popular wine this season.
She wowed us with this savory, light and rustic Fried Eggplant & Fontina Pizza. You’ll need two bottles of Viognier with this recipe. One to drink with friends while making this tasty treat, and a second to enjoy as you savor each bite. It's perfect to pair with a salad as a meal or on its own as an appetizer. To see more of Laura's wonderful creations visit her blog Sweet Life à la Carte.
FRIED EGGPLANT & FONTINA PIZZA
2 Japanese eggplants
3/4 cup flour
2 eggs, beaten
1-1/2 cups Panko bread crumbs
12oz homemade or store-bought pizza dough
1/4 cup crushed San Marzano tomatoes
1/3 pound grated Fontina Val D’Aosta (available at Vivant Fine Cheese) or any fontina of your choice
Sea Salt and Freshly Ground Pepper
Preheat oven to 500F.
Slice eggplant into 1/4-inch thick slices. Arrange on a cutting board in a single layer and salt both sides. Let sit for 10-15 minutes, then squeeze out moisture with a clean towel.
Place flour, egg, and panko into three separate bowls. Coat the eggplant with flour, dip into egg, and coat with panko, pressing to make sure the eggplant is fully covered. Place on a dry cutting board until all pieces are ready.
Add safflower oil to a deep pan - oil should be about 1/2 inch deep. Heat to about 360 degrees and carefully fry eggplant, 4-5 pieces at a time, until a deep golden brown. Drain eggplant on paper towels and season with salt and pepper.
Roll out pizza dough and spread with a thin layer of crushed San Marzano tomatoes. Top with evenly spaced fried eggplant pieces and grated Fontina.
Bake for 10 minutes or until cheese is melted and the edges of the dough are golden brown. Let sit for 2 minutes, then slice and serve with Fortuity 2009 Viognier.
TASTING ROOM: NEW TASTY BITES & WINTER HOURS
Are you planning a visit to our tasting room this winter? If so make note of our winter hours now through April 2nd. You can still visit 7 days a week:
FRIDAY & SATURDAY 11AM-6PM
This month’s wine tasting flight includes a few new exciting bites featured in our petite bento box. We paired our 2009 Viognier with a flavorful stilton cheese with mango and ginger. One of our most popular new additions is a locally made salami infused with black truffle oil from Allesina Fine Cured Meats. Allesina’s Tartufo Salami compliments an earthy sweetness in our 2009 Pinot Noir. Finally we’ve added another new local bite from Central Coast Creamery. A creamy and smooth Big Rock blue cheese paired with our 2009 Elephant In The Room, a blend of 65% Syrah, 15% Grenache and 20% Viognier. Look for these along with our 2009 Cabernet Sauvignon and spiced mulled wine served daily in the tasting room.
We’re already getting ready for an exciting Spring. Next month Paso Robles shines with its annual Zinfandel Festival, March 16th through the 18th. Although we won’t be pouring any Zin, we will be pouring some of the most exciting wines in Paso Robles all weekend long with special deals and treats.
See you in wine country,