The end of my Tournée Minérale, or Dry February is in sight! Meanwhile, I’ve been experimenting further with food and tea pairings. I read that green tea pairs well with fish, especially salmon. So I put that to the test. The green tea I had was regular Twinings green tea. I wanted to have pure green tea to be able to really appreciate how it works together with the food.
I did not grow up in a family drinking tea, so tea is very much an acquired taste for me. I’ve come a long way though, as I really started appreciating different kind of teas, especially black teas. We have a range of Kusmi teas at home and I grew quite fond of the Troika, a delicate bergamot, orange and mandarin-flavored black tea. It’s not too heavy, and I like having a cup of Troika in the evening. But green tea? Well, I still need to get to the next level, I suppose. I find the vegetal flavors of it still difficult to appreciate. So I was curious how I would like it with food!
The first dish I paired it with was Jamie Oliver’s sticky Asian-style salmon with broccoli and rice. We love his recipes here at home. His dishes are always very outspoken flavor bombs, but they always work out somehow. The sauce for this dish is mainly a mixture of soy sauce, honey, ginger and lime juice. This gives a sweet and sour glazing for the salmon. It’s a relatively simple dish to make, it doesn’t take too much time and it’s very tasty!
So how did the green tea fare with the dish? In one word : fantastic! The salmon and the sauce gave the tea more depth and the vegetal flavor became something I associated with seaweed. And that worked very well together. Drinking the tea in between was more a continuation of the food than anything else. So perfect complementarity!
The second dish came from Yotam Ottolenghi’s book NOPI : scallops with corn and merguez salsa. Ottolenghi is another of our favorites here. If Jamie Oliver’s dishes are flavor bombs, Ottolenghi pushes things even further. Most of the times, his combinations are amazing, no matter how unlikely they are. This is why I was pretty confident that combining scallops with merguez and corn salsa would work out. But to be completely honest : this time the experimentation went a bit too far. Scallops are pretty delicate, while merguez is very outspoken. No wonder the merguez dominated the scallops. In the introduction of the book Ottolenghi describes the crazy combinations of his co-author Ramael Scully’s dishes and how they often had to negotiate to find a middle ground. I wouldn’t be surprised if this was one of those dishes.
Again the green tea worked wonderfully well with the scallops. The seaweed flavors that come out when paired with fish really make this a combination that falls under my 1+1=3 category. However, since the merguez and corn salsa did not work very well with the scallops, it was no surprice that the green tea did not pair well with it either.
I can tell you : this was a real eye opener for me. It’s not really a part of our culture to pair tea with food. But green tea and fish are such natural playmates that I will definitely try this again in the future. And I can wholeheartedly recommend you to do the same! If you do, let me know how it went.