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Aug 4, 2015
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WINE WITH…Salmon with Bacon and Tomato Salsa

Going along with the popular truism that everything tastes better with bacon, we recently topped luscious chunks of grilled fresh salmon with crispy little pieces of bacon and some cooked onion. We also threw in a handful of juicy halved cherry tomatoes to balance the dish with color and a subtle jolt of acidity.

The salmon may be grilled, pan-seared or oven roasted. And the bacon will be easier to cut in pieces if you put it in the freezer for about 15 minutes first.

Salmon With Bacon and Tomato Salsa

For 2 servings

3-4 slices bacon, coarsely chopped
About 1 cup chopped white or yellow onion
1 teaspoon very finely minced spicy pepper such as Anaheim, chipotle or jalapeno (optional)
1 cup halved cherry tomatoes
2 cooked salmon filets, about 4-6 ounce each
5 or 6 chives for garnish (optional)

In a heavy skillet (cast iron is good) cook the bacon pieces over medium to high heat, stirring frequently. When the bacon begins to color, add the onion. Add the minced pepper, if using, and continue cooking until the bacon is crisp and the onion is soft and lightly browned. Add the cherry tomatoes and cook another 5 minutes or so, or until they have begun to soften. With a slotted spoon divide the salsa between the two salmon filets. Garnish with fresh chives if desired.

* * *

This is a more substantial dish than you might guess from simply perusing the recipe. The bacon gives it a depth of flavor that the fish does not have by itself, and the juicy salsa adds vibrancy. Delicate wines simply won’t stand up to it, so choose something substantial. As the five we are recommending (culled from the thirteen we tried) demonstrate, reds and whites work equally well. What unites them, though, is a full body and comparably full flavor profile.

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Approx. Price


Domaine Vincent Delaporte, Sancerre (France) Rouge “Maxime” Vielles Vignes sur Silex 2012 (Imported by Vineyard Brands)


Made with Pinot Noir, this red Loire beauty tastes earthy even more than fruity. It complemented the bacon particularly well. While at the same time never overwhelming the fish.

Dry Creek Vineyard, Dry Creek Valley (California) Meritage “The Mariner” 2011


A real surprise, this red Bordeaux blend was in so sense too powerful for this dish. Its dark but lush fruit flavors blended nicely with the salmon as well as the bacon, while the tomato salsa helped it taste fresh and lively. We never would have guessed that it would work so well.

Goldeneye, Anderson Valley (California) Pinot Noir 2011


Less earthy than the Sancerre, this California Pinot emphasizes fruit above all else. It does not, however, taste overly sweet, so harmonized nicely with the dish.

Famille Perrin, Châteauneuf-du-Pape (France) Blanc “Les Sinards” 2012

(Imported by Vineyard Brands)


Making for a beautiful match, this Rhône Valley white tastes of smoked nuts and dried herbs as much as fresh fruit, and those flavors meshed beautifully with the mélange of different flavors in the dish. This was a seamless pairing, one of the best we’ve experienced in a long time.

Sea Smoke, Sta. Rita Hills (California) Chardonnay “Streamside” 2012


A bright but full-flavored Chardonnay, with spicy notes from barrel aging but not so much oak as to interfere with either the grape or the dish it accompanied, this was a delicious wine. It tasted great on its own, but was even better at the supper table.