Bring easy gourmet dining home with this refreshing and delicious recipe, perfect for summer, created by the talented chef Max Mariola, and designed to be paired with a fine wine, such as this special white from Cantina Imperatori, this is Panzanella di pomodori e baccalà (Panzanella with tomatoes and salt cod) is a burst of bright flavors ideal for these warm sunny days.
A mouthwatering recipe to be enjoyed during the warm season that goes well with the characteristics of a Viognier wine like the one from the Frascati-based winery led by Lorenzo Imperatori together with his family.
Among the estate’s signature wines is precisely Viognier Igp Lazio, a straw-yellow wine with golden highlights that releases hints of citrus and exotic fruits; savory and fresh, it is a white wine with good body and a lingering finish.
Cantina Imperatori’s Unique Viognier
From the first to the fourth week of June, depending on seasonal trends, the Viognier vine undergoes “cocciatura,” a technique for containing vine vegetation that was performed long ago, when there were no machines yet.
“In 2017,” explains Enrico Carli, Cantina Imperatori’s agronomist, “we performed trials at the winery comparing the quality of grapes from two plots-one topped and one rolled. The test showed that the rolled (“cocciated”) plot, where the apices had not been cut, had produced a wine with greater complexity and aromatic intensity than the wine obtained from the vineyard.”
“Coiling” literally means the rolling up of the shoot apex on the last strand. Today, the most widely used practice to contain vegetation is topping, which involves cutting off the shoot apex once it has passed the highest wire, often done mechanically with mowing bars that do a job similar to a hedge trimmer. The latter is a much more cost-effective practice in terms of labor expenses, unlike cocciatura, which requires careful and lengthy manual labor, which at Cantina Imperatori is carried out diligently by four women specialists.
“At the winery we use this green management practice only for the Viognier, because not topping the bud produces a grape from which we get a wine with remarkable aromatic complexity. Part of the grape’s aromatic substances are synthesized from the vegetative apices, so by not cutting them, we favor the synthesis of some aromatic precursors that will later be translocated into our cluster and then into the wine,” Carli adds.
Below is the recipe for Panzanella di pomodori e baccalà by chef Max Mariola, to be enjoyed with Viognier Igp Lazio from Cantina Imperatori.
Ingredients for four people – Recipe for Panzanella
Cube the bread and toast it in the oven with a clove of garlic and a drizzle of evo oil. Blend the datterini with the basil and extra virgin olive oil. Wet the bread with the dates, dice the camone and yellow cherry tomatoes. Place the bread in a glass jar, then add the yellow tomatoes, camone and chopped cod, previously boiled or steamed and seasoned with oil and onion. Finish with a basil leaf.