Jordan Wine Country Table - Vol. 16, 2021 - 35

FOOD
WOODS
For wood-fired cooking, it's important to match the fuel's flavor to the food.
As a rule of thumb, Chef Knoll recommends pairing subtle varieties with
mildly flavored seafood and vegetables, and opting for more flavorful woods
for bolder ingredients, such as red meats.
FRUIT WOODS
These tend to be milder and more delicate
than other varieties. For example, apple
imparts a subtle sweetness that is ideal
for pork, poultry, beef and lamb. Similar
to apple in its sweet and fruity profile,
cherry is bold with earthy accents, making
it a good choice for most meats.
Grapevine cuttings, on the other hand,
have pungent aromas and smoky flavors
that pair well with poultry, lamb, pork and
sausage. Chef Knoll especially loves using
grapevines to grill octopus.
HARDWOODS
Hardwood varieties range from mild
to pungent. With its subtly sweet flavor,
alder is a good choice for vegetables and
seafood. Next on the spectrum is poultryfriendly
pecan-stronger than most
fruit woods but milder than hickory and
mesquite. For a robust flavor, go for hickory.
It's smoky, bacon-like profile works with
many kinds of meat, especially pork. While
mesquite is a popular option for grilling
red meats, its bold, woody profile can be
overwhelming with oak-aged wines.
MADRONE OFFERS
A SMOOTHER, SWEETER
AND LESS AGGRESSIVE
FLAVOR THAN MESQUITE
OR HAWAIIAN KIAWE TREES.
FORAGED FUELS
Some of the best cooking fuels are those that money can't buy.
Whenever possible, Chef Knoll feeds Jordan's Mugnaini oven
with tree branches foraged from the winery estate.
MADRONE
" Madrone burns hot and clean, and since
the dead and cured branches often remain
attached to the live tree, they can be used
for smoking or grilling immediately after
they're harvested, " he says. " Madrone
offers a smoother, sweeter and less aggressive
flavor than mesquite or Hawaiian kiawe
trees. It also burns consistently without the
popping fireworks. " At Jordan, Knoll uses
foraged madrone wood as fuel for chicken,
beef, pork and pizzas. Madrone can also
cook tuna steak or wild salmon, but Knoll
cautions against using it for hamachi, snapper
or other delicate fish. " Even a less aggressive
wood will overpower delicate fish, " he says.
FENNEL
Those who visit Wine Country during
summer likely see towering stalks with
yellow flowers growing along the many
roadways. That is wild fennel-another
favorite foraged fuel. Knoll also likes
to collect fennel fronds from the slopes
and grasslands of Jordan Estate to
bring a hint of anise flavor into a grilled
dish. " We dry fennel stalks throughout
the summer and until the first fall rains,
so we have access to the fuel year-round. "
He likes to finish grilling a whole fish over
fennel's intoxicating anise smoke, drizzled
with Jordan olive oil, oregano and lemon.
" It's instantly Mediterranean. "
Jordan Executive Chef Todd Knoll forages
for madrone branches in the woodlands
of Jordan Estate.
OAK
Oak tree branches are another go-to
foraged wood, and with hundreds of
acres of oak-filled open space at Jordan
Estate, Chef Knoll has endless access to
this versatile fuel. " It's an especially great
complement to the oak aging in Jordan's
wines, " Knoll says, " and its smoky flavors
pair with just about any type of meat-
especially lamb. " T
WINECOUNTRYTABLE.COM 35
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Jordan Wine Country Table - Vol. 16, 2021

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