Friday, June 1, 2018

Salmone al Forno + Pieropan Soave Classico 2016 #ItalianFWT

Li from The Wining Hour is hosting as the Italian Food Wine & Travel bloggers write about Soave. You can read her preview here.

The Soave Line-Up

In the Glass
First, let me say that this is a completely new-to-me region and wine. Before Li suggested it as the theme, I had never even heard of Soave. And though I've only tried this one example, I am definitely a fan. I located a bottle of 2016 Pieropan Soave Classico.

It was savory and fresh, but what appealed to me, first, were aromas of almonds. This wine, I read, is the 50th vintage of Nino Pieropan and it's a blend of 85% Garganega and 15% Trebbiano di Soave from the family’s estate in the Soave Classico zone. The vines are grown in volcanic clay-basalt soil which lends the wine some flinty notes on the nose and an intense mineral finish.

So, the first thing I realized as I was researching: Soave isn't a grape varietal; it's a geographical appellation - like Sangiovese is to Chianti. Made almost entirely, and sometimes completely, from the Garganega grape, Soave can contain up to a third Trebbiano di Soave. The Garganega vines date back to the Medieval times and is incredibly prolific. You'll also find it as the mainstay behind other appellations such as Gambellara, Bianco di Custoza, Colli Berici and Colli Euganei. Color me intrigued...I was more than a little excited to uncork this bottle.

It pours a brilliant straw hue with greenish hints and is a weighty white that I really enjoyed. I am definitely going to be on the lookout for more Soaves to compare them to this.

On the Plate
Because the aromas reminded me of marzipan and almond blossoms, I decided to do an almond-crusted salmon in the oven. Salmone al forno was a perfect mid-week dinner to go with the wine.

Ingredients serves 6

  • 2 pounds salmon fillets, skin-on (that's about 5 ounces per serving, I had two 1-pound fillets)
  • freshly ground salt
  • freshly ground pepper
  • 4 T freshly squeezed lemon juice, divided
  • zest from 2 organic lemons (I used Meyer lemons)
  • 1 C ground almonds
  • ½ t ground fennel
  • 1 t anise seeds
  • 1 t dried thyme
  • olive oil

Preheat oven to 400-degrees Fahrenheit.

Place salmon pieces on baking dish lined with parchment paper or foil. Season with salt and pepper. Drizzle each fillet with 1 T freshly squeezed lemon juice. Set aside.

In a medium mixing bowl, stir together ground almonds, lemon zest, fennel, anise seeds, and thyme. Add in 2 T olive oil to make a paste. Divide the mixture between the fillets and press down lightly to form a crust.

Place in the oven and roast for 10 minutes. Remove the tray from the oven and drizzle with more olive oil and the remaining lemon juice. Return pan to the oven for another 10 minutes or until salmon is just cooked through. Serve hot.

We served our with caramelized onions, Spring peas, and steamed broccoli.

Thanks to Li for hosting this month. Next month we'll be back with Li as host as we explore Chiaretto. Cin cin.


  1. Sorry I couldn't join in this time. Now I really want to find a bottle of this wine.

  2. Glad you got to discover Soave Cam- you started with a nice bottle! Another winning recipe. Was it a nice pairing? (I'm thinking yes ;-)

  3. Pieropan is a great place to start! One of my faves. I'm sure that combination with the nutty salmon was delicious!

  4. I enjoyed Pieropan as well, but perhaps I would have enjoyed it more if I had your salmon dish. Looks and sounds delicious, as usual Camilla!