A Legacy of Versatility: Pairing Provençal Rosé Wines with Diverse Local Flavors, pt. 3

Chef/Owner Alex Seidel of Mercantile Dining & Provision in Denver, Colorado

by: Lisa M. Airey

Photos by: Adam Larkey

To celebrate and display the diversity of the rosé from Provence, The Clever Root challenged four superstar chefs from across the country to develop signature dishes to pair with these pink sippers. From Cajun cooking in New Orleans, to celebrating the bounty of the Pacific Northwest, these chefs pushed their palates and pairing abilities to the max.

We will be sharing these incredible recipes with you all month, and our third stop brings us to Mercantile Dining & Provision in Denver, Colorado, where Chef/Owner Alex Seidel has dreamed up heirloom tomato salad served with Maison Saint Aix AIX Rosé, spaghetti and little neck clams with Château Minuty M Rosé and Rocky Ford melon gazpacho served with Chateau Routas Rosé. See part one here and part two  here.

Mercantile Dining & Provision Alex Seidel

“What I like about Provence rosé is the high acid and fresh fruit . . . plus the fact that the wines are bone dry. Acid needs food and food needs acid,” explains Chef Alex Seidel, who made Food and Wine magazine’s list of Best New Chefs back in 2010. “These things work well together.” His restaurant, Mercantile Dining & Provision in Denver, Colorado, does indeed have a long list of bold ingredients on its menu—many with a nice, tangy bite, like pickled chiles and lemon preserve. And seven years after being recognized as a bright new toque, Chef Seidel is now seasoned as well. “We have a lot of acid in our foods. This has been a longtime hallmark of ours, but more importantly, we like to highlight our ingredients and their flavors,” he says. “Rosé would work with just about anything . . . even our short ribs because of the piquancy of the barbecue.” Mercantile, both a restaurant and artisanal market, capitalizes on the delicacies homegrown and handraised at their other gourmet enterprise, Fruition Farms. In fact, Fruition Farms’ ricotta and feta cheeses just placed first and second in their respective categories at this year’s American Cheese Society competition—and paired especially well with the rosé selection. “The Provence rosés we tried were all bright and clean. The AIX rosé from Maison Saint Aix, Coteaux d’Aix-en-Provence, was vibrant and fruity, so we decided to pair it with a tomato and peach salad with award-winning Fruition Farms ricotta,” Chef Seidel says. “Château Minuty M rosé, a Côtes de Provence from Presqu’ile de Saint-Tropez, has a nice salinity to it, so we wanted to complement that touch of brine with homemade spaghetti with garlicy clams swimming in their own broth. The Château Routas rosé from Coteaux Varois en Provence had a nice textural component in addition to the fruit, so we opted to capitalize on that fruit and texture by creating an heirloom melon gazpacho with mission fig and Fruition Farms feta.” “As a tasting menu or sampler, we wanted to open with the salad, move to the pasta and finish with the gazpacho,” he continues with a grin. “This way you get dessert without doing dessert!”

Mercantile Dining & Provision Heirloom Salad

Heirloom Tomato Salad Served With Maison Saint Aix AIX Rosé
Created by Chef Alex Seidel, Mercantile Dining & Provision, Denver, CO

6 heirloom tomatoes (different colors, blanched, shocked and skin removed) per salad
1 shallot, minced
¼ cup red wine vinegar
½ cup olive oil
1 cup Fruition Farms ricotta
2 medium to large Palisade peaches per salad
1 cup mixed greens
Kosher salt
Black pepper
White pepper, ground

To make the red wine vinaigrette, combine the minced shallots and red wine vinegar in a small mixing bowl. Slowly whisk in the olive oil. Season to taste with kosher salt and white pepper.

Slice the tomatoes into round slices and wedges. Slice the peaches. Dress the peaches and the tomatoes with the red wine vinaigrette and season with kosher salt and black pepper. Arrange the tomatoes and peaches on plates, and finish the dishes with spoonfuls of Fruition Farms ricotta and the mixed greens. Serves 6.

Mercantile Dining & Provision Clam Spaghetti

Spaghetti and Little Neck Clams with Château Minuty M Rosé
Created by Chef Alex Seidel, Mercantile Dining & Provision, Denver, CO

12 oz. dried spaghetti (cooked and held)
30 little neck clams (removed from shell) per portion
3 Tbsp. butter
2 Tbsp. olive oil
1 cup white wine
3 shallots (minced) per portion
2 cups clam juice
1 tsp. red chili flakes
½ cup seasoned bread crumbs
¼ cup grated Parmesan
2 Tbsp. lemon juice
Kosher salt
Ground white pepper

In a large sauté pan over medium heat, combine the olive oil, chile flakes and the minced shallots. Sweat the shallots until translucent. Deglaze the pan with the white wine and bring to boil. Add the clam juice and bring to a boil, then add the butter and the spaghetti and bring back to a boil. Add the clams and continue to cook until the clams are just cooked. Finish with the grated Parmesan and lemon juice. Taste and season with kosher salt and white pepper.

Note: This pasta dish should not be liquidly, with just enough sauce to coat the pasta. Using tongs, plate 6 equal portions of pasta in bowls and top each portion with a tablespoon or so of breadcrumbs.

Mercantile Dining Provision Gazpacho

Rocky Ford Melon Gazpacho Served With Chateau Routas Rosé
Created by Chef Alex Seidel, Mercantile Dining & Provision, Denver, CO

Melon Gazpacho
35 oz. Rocky Ford Hami Melon
10½ oz. water
¼ tsp. xanthan gum
Lime juice, salt and champagne vinegar to taste

Honey Ginger Crumble
1 cup and 2 Tbsp. brown sugar
1 cup honey
1 cup canola Oil
1 Tbsp. powdered ginger
5 cups oats

Ingredients for plating:
4 oz. melon gazpacho
1 oz. honey ginger crumble
1 fig (quartered) per portion
1 oz. Fruition Farms feta
2 oz. Rocky Ford Melon (cubed and melon balls) (Santa Claus and/or Crenshaw)
Vinaigrette, salt and pepper to taste
Fruition Farms greens to garnish

Blend melon, water and xanthan gum. Blend until smooth; pass through a chinois. Season to taste with lime and salt first. Finish with a touch of vinegar for balance.

In small pot, heat 1 cup brown sugar, honey and canola oil. Pulse oats in a robot coupe into crumb-like pieces. In a bowl, mix oats, ginger, 2 Tbsp. brown sugar and salt. Pour melted syrup over oats and stir. Bake at 325 degrees Fahrenheit for 1 hour (plus or minus 10 minutes). Serves 6.

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