I recently enjoyed a cook-fest in southern France – trying out recipes supplied by winemakers from around the world for the forthcoming book – The Winemakers’ Cooking Companion.

After cooking, I carried dishes down the street – Rue Saint Simon – to La Cave de La Citadelle wine store and wine bar. Inside, friends gathered around an ancient wooden table to sample the food.


We started with cured salmon, made with a recipe from Assaf Winery in the Golan Heights of Israel. Next – a hearty pan-roasted chicken (with whole green olives) from the Hunter Valley of Australia. Dessert was a lemon tart (recipe supplied by Artisan Wines of Austria).

We substituted recommended wines with Bordeaux and other French equivalents.

Although friends devoured the appetizer and main course, they held off on dessert. I finally realized that for the French, cheese comes before dessert. They were just waiting for this missing course.

Of course…

Below are the recipes.


Cured Salmon in Rice Vinegar, from Assaf Winery, Golan Heights, Israel

Preparation Time and Quantity –

10 minutes to prepare before curing, 10 minutes to prepare after curing. Serves 4 to 6 people.

Ingredients and Amounts –

Salmon fillets – 2 sizable fillets, or 7 ounces (200 grams )

Coarse salt – 4 tablespoons (60 grams)

Light brown sugar – 2.5 tablespoons (40 grams)

Rice vinegar – ¼ cup (60 ml)

Olive oil – 1/8 cup (30 ml)

Capers – 2 tablespoons (30 ml)

Red onion – 1

Parsley leaves – handful


Preparation –

  1. Mix salt and sugar.
  2. Cover the flesh sides (non-skin sides) of the salmon with the salt/sugar mix.
  3. Tightly cover in plastic wrap.
  4. Place in a bowl, and put another bowl or dish on top that presses downward. Put a weight on top of this (I used a full wine box).
  5. Refrigerate for 2 nights.
  6. Remove plastic wrap, then gently wash away sugar and salt.
  7. Tap the fish with a paper towel to dry it.
  8. Remove skin.
  9. Slice thinly.

Serving –

  1. Arrange on a plate and drizzle with rice vinegar and olive oil.
  2. Slice capers and red onion thinly and arrange on top.
  3. Garnish with parsley leaves and serve with a rustic, crusty bread.

Comments –

Anat from Assaf Winery told me how this winery is located in the northern portion of Israel – The Golan Heights – and is owned by the Kedem family as part of the Kedem Wine Village. Adi (the eldest in the family) is a chef, a Clinical Nutritionist, and a mother of three. She studied at the French Culinary Institute in New York, as well as at Israel’s Reidman College, then founded AdiKa Café, which forms part of the wine village. The cafe teaches locals about local food, serves fresh-baked bread and other foods, and hosts culinary events.




Pan Roasted Chicken, from Todd Alexander of Belford Block Eight Wines, Hunter Valley, Australia

Preparation Time and Quantity –

1 hour to prepare, 1 hour 20 minutes to cook. Serves 6 people.


Ingredients and Amounts –

Organic chicken – 1

Spanish onions – 4

Potatoes – 6

Mushrooms – 6

Whole green olives – 1 cup (240 ml)

Garlic – 6 cloves

Lemons (or limes) – 4

Lemon thyme (or rosemary or oregano) – 10 sprigs

White wine (such as Semillon) – 2 cups (500 ml)

Organic (or homemade) chicken stock – 2 cups (500 ml)

Olive oil – 2/3 cup (150 ml)

Pepper and salt – to taste

Preparation –

  1. Pre-heat oven to 430 degrees Fahrenheit (220 degrees Celsius).
  2. With a sharp knife, carefully slice along both sides of the backbone of the chicken to remove it, then place the bird skin side up and crush to flatten out. Push firmly to break some bones – which will help provide a tastier, moister bird. Cover and leave at room temperature while preparing other ingredients.
  3. Slice the mushrooms into 1/4  inch (1/2 cm) slices.
  4. Slice potatoes into 1/8 inch (1/4 cm) slices.
  5. Slice onions into 1/8 inch (1/4 cm) slices.
  6. Thinly slice 2 lemons.
  7. Peel the garlic cloves.

Recipe –

  1. Layer the sliced mushrooms evenly over the base of a large, deep, roasting tray.
  2. Layer the potato slices over the mushroom slices and salt slightly.
  3. Layer onion slices over the potatoes.
  4. Sprinkle whole olives evenly over the onions. It’s okay if this includes the juice. (Whole olives taste better when roasted, but advise your guests if they contain pits.)
  5. Layer the two sliced lemons (including skins) over the olives. (The lemons will carmelize and can be eaten with skins on.)
  6. Arrange the herbs sprigs evenly over the onions and olives.
  7. Put the peeled garlic cloves in the middle of the pan to flavor the chicken.
  8. Place the chicken skin side down over the vegetables, and squeeze juice of one lemon over the flesh, then season liberally with salt and pepper.
  9. Turn the chicken skin side up, place over the garlic, squeeze the juice of one lemon over the skin.
  10. Pour the chicken stock and white wine over the chicken.
  11. Let rest 10 minutes.
  12. Uncover the chicken, then pat skin dry with a paper towel.
  13. Pour olive oil over the skin, then season well with salt and pepper.
  14. Place chicken in hot oven for 20 minutes, then reduce heat to 360 degrees Fahrenheit (180 degrees Celsius). Cook until potatoes are tender and chicken thigh juices run clear when pricked with a fork. This will likely be between and hour and an hour and a half, depending on the size of the chicken.
  15. Remove chicken from pan, cover with foil, and leave at room temperature for 10 to 15 minutes. Return the pan with vegetables to the oven to keep warm.
  16. While preserving juices, cut chicken into six even portions and place over vegetables. Pour the chicken juices over this.

Serving –

Serve in the center of the table and spoon juices over rice, grain, or pasta – or mop the juices up with a crusty bread. Serve with an oaked Australian Chardonnay – such as Block Eight’s Reserve Chardonnay.

Comments –

From Todd:

“The Hunter Valley is well known for its wine, but also olives, and has some great local poultry farmers – which is why I’ve given you my Block Eight signature chicken dish. We absolutely love living here. I’m a passionate cook, cookbook collector, and kitchen garden amateur. It’s nice to think that of Hunter vineyards, our story stood out for you.”


Screen Shot 2016-01-20 at 7.36.07 pm
Courtesy Franz Schneider

Lemon Tart from Franz Schneider of Artisan Wines, Haltburn, Austria



Preparation Time and Quantity –

15 minutes to prepare, 30 minutes to cook. Serves 4 – 6 people.


Ingredients and Amounts –

Dough –

Flour – 2 cups (240 grams)

Soft butter – 1/3 cup (80 grams)

Sugar – 1/5 cup (40 grams)

Cream cheese – 1/5 cup (40 grams)

Vanilla – 1 teaspoon

Egg (small) – 1

Salt – pinch

Cream –

Caster sugar – ½ cup (120 grams)

Eggs – 2

Lemons (juice and zest) – 2

Butter – ½ cup (115 grams)


Recipe –

  1. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit (180 Celsius).
  2. For dough – beat together butter, sugar, cream cheese, vanilla, egg.
  3. Add flour and salt.
  4. Knead ingredients until a smooth ball, roll out, then put into a 9 inch (24 cm) diameter tart pan. Prick the base with a fork several times.
  5. Bake in pre-heated oven at 350 degrees Fahrenheit (180 Celsius) for 10 minutes.
  6. For the cream – mix eggs and castor sugar until a creamy consistency.
  7. Add lemon juice, zest, and melted butter.
  8. Pour the cream into the partially baked tart shell, then bake for another 15 to 20 minutes.
  9. Cool the dish for one hour to let the cream turn firm.

Serving –

Serve with fresh berries or ice cream.

Comments –

Franz has a selection of recipes on his winery’s website. He generously informed me he “would love to add recipes to your book – just let me know which you would like.” 




This Post Has 5 Comments

  1. Wow. Looks and sounds delicious. Looking forward to the book! (You’re making us jealous here in Cambodia…just not the same here.)

  2. My friend Kerry from California send a beautiful photo of her dinner, and wrote “Tom Mullen….thanks for your Wine blog….I made today’s chicken from France…”

  3. Friend Kate from the UK wrote:

    “I’m going to try the lemon tart recipe as it’s one of my favourite desserts – I have a really sweet tooth!


  4. hello Tom, this is Annabelle from blaye. thanks for the photo! hope you are getting well. your lunch was successfull. We enjoy to see you next time. a bientôt.

    1. Annabelle! Ah, merci beaucoup…Il me reste votre recette pour Poulet Basquaise avec Piperade 🙂 Oui, a la prochaine fois 🙂

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