Here we are, Outlanders! It’s the end of a week of STARZ premiere party menus, and I can’t help but admit to all of you that I think I’ve saved the best for last. This Single Malt Pairings Sampler Menu is close to my heart, both as a chef and whisky lover.
Outlander, and my first trip to Scotland in 2011, are responsible for my appreciation of a fine single malt.
My Englishman, as someone who
can’t won’t drink wine, is responsible for my inspiration over the years to create several menus designed to pair with both beer and whisky.
This menu is all about whisky and the food that pairs best with it. It’s a sampler menu, meaning that the serving size of each dish is small, allowing you and your friends to taste the food without over imbibing, which tends to dull the palate, and turn even the most dedicated gourmet into a gourmand.
Unfortunately, single malts are expensive, and the thought of shelling out for the 6 bottles I’ve suggested is enough to send most of our bank accounts into cardiac arrest.
But, if you’re having friends over, you could ask each of your guests to spring for a bottle to share, in exchange for the food. Or, if you live in a small town (or island) like I do, start asking friends what they’ve got in their liquor cabinets. I’ve already had great success doing this, and have managed to sample a lot of different single malts, simply by taking around a wee gift in exchange.
I’ve tasted every one of the following single malts over the past 3 years that I’ve had Outlander Kitchen, and you’ll find tasting notes on many of them if you scroll through this list of OK posts.
Gougères are traditionally served at wine tastings in France, so it was just a matter of finding a mellow, sweet single malt to take the place of a fine Burgundy. Glen Morangie Original fills the bill nicely. It’s fruity and slightly flowery, with a clean finish.
As for the cheese savouries, gruyère is traditional, but if cheddar is what you’ve got, or you want to go crazy and throw in some blue, no one’s going to stop you, least of all me.
The light smokiness of Superstition, distilled on the Isle of Jura, is the perfect match for the full body of the consomme, which is concentrated with what we chefs like to call mouth feel. You may have heard of it as the 6th taste…or umami. Whatever you call it, consomme is full of it.
If it’s hot outside, you can always serve the consomme at room temperature, which is actually the best temp for taste appreciation.
Baja Fish Tacos are perfect for a sampler menu. They’re light and delicious, contain such much needed roughage, and are the perfect size for a taste on a 6″ corn tortilla.
I’ve chosen Old Pulteney 12 YO to pair alongside. Besides being one of my very favourite single malts in the whole wide world, the lemon-lime notes and faint taste of salt match perfectly with seafood.
Next up we’ve got fries…cause who doesn’t love a few fries? Especially Brianna’s Cold-Oil Fries, which are the best homemade version you’ll ever make. And when you read the recipe, you’ll love how easy they are to prepare.
I’ve chosen the bolder, smoky taste of Talisker Storm to pair here. As we move toward the end of the menu, my single malt choices are becoming bolder, with peat more front and centre. The fries can handle it though…can you?
Next up is Lord John’s Steak and Mushroom Pie from The Private Matter. Another very popular recipe in the OK repertoire, mostly because of it’s beef and beer taste, but also because once you’ve make the filling, the best finish is to slap a square of purchased puff pastry on top before popping it into the oven. Now doesn’t that sound easy?
Not so easy for some is Laphroaig Quarter Cask. It’s powerful stuff, peat wise, and not everyone’s cup of tea…that said, you need a strong single malt to stand up to beef, mushrooms and stout.
Don’t wimp out on me now, aye?
By this time in our menu, the show has started. The credits have rolled, and Claire is somewhere near the stones…do you hear the buzz? If you don’t hear a buzz, you haven’t drunk all of your whiskies. Just sayin’.
To finish off while the TV rolls, I suggest a batch of Mrs. G’s Chocolate Biscuits. Since we’re pairing with the Cognac of Scotches, Lagavulin 16 YO, you need to leave the baking chocolate behind. Choose a high quality, dark chocolate to brush over your biscuits, and you won’t believe the taste sensations in your mouth.
Enjoy the ride, Outlanders. Many of us have waited years for Outlander to come to screen, and the premiere night deserves the very best.
Sláinte and Ith gu leòir, my friends.