Can You Use Pinot Gris for Cooking?

by Pamela Martin

    Pinot Gris, also known as Pinot Grigio, Malvoisie and Runlander is a wine made from a grape that originated in Middle Ages Europe. The wine works well for cooking, as long as you remember the cardinal rule that you should never cook with a wine you wouldn't drink.

    Characteristics

    Translated from French as "grey pinecone," for the shape and color of the fruits on the vine, the best Pinot Gris grapes come from France's Alsace region, although they also grow in the United States, Germany, Italy and Austria, and in other locales. These white to pink wines are crisp, ranging from dry to sweet, often with fruity overtones. Keep in mind that the wine is very full-bodied, so it can overpower the flavor of your dish if you use too much.

    Meats, Seafood and Shellfish

    Substitute Pinot Gris for water when steaming shellfish like clams or mussels or when you sauté shrimp, crab, scallops, or tender vegetables. Heat the wine slightly before adding the proteins and seasonings to avoid making them tough, as cold wine can do.

    Another option is to braise meats, especially pork, in Pinot Gris, using the wine in place of stock or water. Sear the meat first to add caramelized flavors, then add the wine and seasonings and cover the pot, reducing the heat to cook "low and slow."

    Marinades

    Blend Pinot Gris, extra virgin olive oil and the contents of a package of dried salad dressing mix for a marinade with a personal touch. Use dill dip mix and parsley for fish. Oregano, thyme, garlic or red pepper flakes give Brussels sprouts, broccoli and meats extra zing.

    Sauces

    Add stock, wine and herbs to a roux for a sauce for chicken, turkey and vegetables. An extra pat of butter at the end of the cooking time gives the sauce an extra-rich touch.

    Use your herbed wine sauce to turn everyday chicken into a special occasion meal. Stuff boned chicken breasts and thighs with herbed cheese and pan-fry, grill or bake. Drizzle your wine sauce over the top and serve it with a risotto in which you've substituted Pinot Gris for some of the water.

    Mix wine, seasonings, butter and clams, crab, shrimp or mussels for a quick and delicious sauce to toss with al dente pasta. Make a creamy sauce by adding Parmesan dressing to the wine.

    Add a little sugar, vanilla and cinnamon to the wine. Heat it through and add a pat of butter to make a dessert sauce to top pound cake, angel food cake or fruit salads.

    Salad Dressings

    Substitute Pinot Gris for vinegar or citrus juice when blending homemade dressings. Add some good quality olive oil and herbs or blend the wine with marmalade or jelly before drizzling in the oil. Simmer creamy peppercorn salad dressing with a few tablespoons of Pinot Gris for a rich sauce for steaks and roasts.

    About the Author

    Pamela Martin has been writing since 1979. She has written newsletter articles and curricula-related materials. She also writes about teaching and crafts. Martin was an American Society of Newspaper Editors High School Journalism Fellow. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Teaching in elementary education from Sam Houston State University and a Master of Arts in curriculum/instruction from the University of Missouri.

    Photo Credits

    • Goodshoot/Goodshoot/Getty Images