Not content with customers that merely swill their spirits, many liquor companies are touting how great their stuff is in food recipes. Brown spirits are classics in the kitchen: Escoffier drizzled Grand Marnier into his famous Crepes Suzette. It wouldn’t be tiramisu without a little coffee liqueur and who’d want to hork down fruitcake — or baba for that matter — without the rum?
Now though, white spirits are getting into the culinary act. Earlier this week, I met Chef Sara La Fountain, a Finnish food television personality and chef. She’s developed a series of recipes using Finlandia Vodka, to show how well it works with a variety of foods.
La Fountain had a sweet smile and appealing persona that reminded me of Euro version of Giada di Laurentiis. She’s a big deal in Finland, where she’s written a book and has her own line of culinary products available on her website alasara.com, including hot pink aprons with graphic swirls.
She was paired up with Pekka Pellinen, a Finnish native who’s the mixologist for Finlandia. As he extolled the features and benefits of his brand, Pellinen had a noticeable accent, which one of the women at my table found alluring. Overheard: “I like his accent; he sounds dangerous.”
La Fountain and Pellinen had come up with four different pairings, but the Passion Fruit Lime Cocktail with a seared tuna salad drizzled with a miso and Finlandia Grapefruit Vodka dressing was my favorite bootleg match. The company shared the photos and recipes with me, in hopes that I’d tell you about them.
Lime Passion Fruit Cocktail
3 lime wedges, plus one more for garnish
1 fresh passion fruit
1-1/2 ounces Finlandia Lime Vodka
1/2 ounce Monin passion fruit syrup
Gently muddle the lime wedges and passion fruit in a tall, heavy cocktail mixing glass. Add the vodka, passion fruit syrup and crushed ice. Top with club soda and stir lightly Garnish with the lime wedge.
Tuna Salad with Miso-Finlandia Grapefruit Vodka Dressing
8 oz Tuna steaks
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 lb. baby greens
2 carrots cut into small sticks
4 oz sugar snaps peas, cut into small sticks
4 radishes, cut into thin rounds
4 tablespoons wasabi nuts, chopped into small pieces
For the Miso dressing:
3 teaspoons miso paste
2 teaspoons grated fresh ginger
1 teaspoon grated fresh garlic
2 teaspoons soy sauce
2 teaspoons honey
1 tablespoon lime juice
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons Finlandia Grapefruit Vodka
1 tablespoon water
salt, to taste
First cut the steaks into thick long strips and season with salt. Heat the frying pan with oil until very hot, fry the tuna strips for about 1 minute on each side until crispy brown. Next place the fried tuna strips in the refrigerator for 1-2 hours, slice into thin slices. Next make the miso dressing. In a small bowl, add all the miso dressing ingredients and mix all together. Then plate the salad adding salad mix, carrot sticks, sugar snaps, radishes and wasabi nuts. Next add thin tuna slices on top of the salad and drizzle on some miso dressing.