Kate Leahy wrote ‘Wine Style: Discover the Wines You Will Love Through 50 Simple Recipes,’ to find “a happy middle ground” between the wines and the food you like.

Food Wines Made Simple: 3 Dishes—and Their Perfect Pairings—To Make for Dinner
Reprinted with permission from Wine Style: Discover the Wines You Will Love Through 50 Simple Recipes by Kate Leahy, copyright © 2021. Published by Ten Speed Press, an imprint of Penguin Random House. Photographs copyright © 2021 by Erin Scott
Eggplant lahmajoon from "Wine Style: Discover the Wines You Will Love Through 50 Simple Recipes" by Kate Leahy.

Pairing food and wine can be intimidating. We get it. That’s why author Kate Leahy wrote Wine Style: Discover the Wines You Will Love Through 50 Simple Recipes, to find “a happy middle ground” between the wines and the food you like.

Leahy’s new book offers 50 recipes organized by their ideal style, from bubbles to orange wines, to take the guesswork out of your dinner prep. There’s chilled smoked salmon spaghetti with capers and avocado, perfectly paired with sparkling rosé and Champagne. (Even better, the leftovers can be used the next morning. “There’s something luxurious about having smoked salmon in the refrigerator waiting to be draped over bagels or avocado slices—or both,” Leahy writes.)

If you’re into orange wine, try making cumin-roasted cauliflower as a standout side dish or appetizer. “Cumin seeds, with their earthy flavors and underlying sweetness, are a slam-dunk match with skin-contact wines,” Leahy writes. Look for orange wines with a deeper hue, the author notes. These styles “typically have had longer contact with grape skins and coat your mouth a bit more than light-colored orange wines.” Alternatively, an aromatic Gewürztraminer would also pair well and “play up the sweetness” of the dish, Leahy adds.

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For a main course that can be served with myriad red wines, spend some quality time in the kitchen with eggplant lahmajoon. “Lahmajoon is often called Armenian pizza, though it’s not really a true pizza,” Leah writes. “For one, there’s no cheese. There’s no sauce either—the topping is a mix of ground lamb or beef with spices, herbs, and a bit of tomato and red pepper paste. Still, with the birthplace of bread being somewhere around Jordan and Iran, this staple Middle Eastern flatbread may have been a precursor to Neapolitan pizza.

Barbera, Grenache, Grenache Rosé, and Malbec are all apt partners for the dish. “The combination of eggplant and tomatoes calls for wines with high acidity and low tannins, like Barbera, or juicy, red wines, like Malbec and Grenache,” Leahy says. “If you want to get into the true spirit of lahmajoon, pour a red Armenian wine made with the Areni grape.”

We excerpted the three dishes from Wine Style to whet your palate, along with suggestions from Leahy for which wines to pair them with:


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