In Wine Food, authors Dana Frank and Andrea Slonecker expertly pair wines with rustic, casual recipes.
Moscato d’Asti | Griddled Zucchini Bread with Moscato Peaches and Crème
Moscato d’Asti may very well be the wine of angels. It’s lightly fizzy, low in alcohol, and an explosion of peachy notes on the nose. Many years ago it was known as Asti Spumante, and quickly gained a reputation for being a sweet dessert wine that was incorrectly lumped into the same category as Champagne. The two wines could not be more different: Champagne’s elegance, fine bubbles, and varying levels of dryness make it a much, much more serious distant relative of Moscato d’Asti and her fruity sweetness. Moscato is a great choice for brunch because it’s low octane. You can drink a few glasses and won’t be tanked by 2 PM, and with the bubbles, acidity, and ripe fruitiness, your palate feels fresh.
Given its beautiful aromatics, Moscato d’Asti is a natural partner for peaches, nectarines, and apricots. This is a summery brunch dish, perfect for soft, yielding stone fruit, a bit of tangy crème fraîche, and warm-weather zucchini. Cinnamon and cardamom replace the baking spices commonly found in old-fashioned zucchini breads, and this one is loaded with as much zucchini as it can handle. We also use good olive oil, which adds its own layer of fruitiness. Bake the bread the day before you’re planning to enjoy it, and the next morning the dish will be so simple to put together while sipping coffee in your robe.
- To make the Zucchini Bread: Preheat the oven to 325°F with a rack positioned in the lower third. Grease an 8 by 4-inch loaf pan with oil.
- Whisk the oil, zucchini, sugar, eggs, vanilla, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, and cardamom in a large bowl. Add the flour and stir just until combined. Pour the batter into the prepared pan.
- Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 1 1⁄2 hours. Set the pan on a wire rack to cool for about 5 minutes, then run a knife along the edges of the bread and invert to unmold it. Return the bread to the rack to cool completely before slicing, 3 to 4 hours. After cooling, it can be wrapped tightly and stored at room temperature for up to 3 days, or refrigerated for up to 1 week.
- To make the Moscato Peaches: Pit the peaches and cut them into thin wedges. Put them in a large bowl, pour in the Moscato, and sprinkle with the sugar. Toss to combine. Taste and add more sugar, if needed. Set the bowl aside until the peaches soften and give up some of their juices, at least 30 minutes and up to 8 hours.
- Preheat the oven to 200°F. Line a large rimmed baking sheet with a wire rack and place it near the stove.
- Trim the crust from each end of the zucchini bread. Cut the loaf into 8 slices, each about 1 inch thick. Heat a large cast-iron griddle pan or skillet over medium heat. Add 2 tablespoons of the butter and swirl it around to coat the griddle. Once melted, add as many slices of the zucchini bread as will fit comfortably in the pan. Cook, turning once, until both sides are nicely browned and crisp, 2 to 3 minutes per side. Decrease the heat if they seem to darken too quickly. Add another pat of butter if the griddle becomes dry after the first sides are cooked. Place the griddled slices on the prepared baking sheet and keep them warm in the oven while the rest are cooked. Repeat to cook the remaining slices, adding more butter to the pan as needed.
- Serve one slice of hot griddled bread per person, each drizzled with crème fraîche and topped with a big spoonful of the peaches and Moscato syrup.
Reprinted with permission from Wine Food by Dana Frank and Andrea Slonecker, copyright © 2018. Published by Ten Speed Press, an imprint of Penguin Random House. Photography credit Eve Kolenko © 2018