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Pork Chops & Black Ale

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Salmon Salad & Prickly Pear Saison

Beer GeeksJan 15 '15

Michael Ferguson tries a seared Salmon Salad paired with Cactus Jack Prickly Pear Saison from NXNW.


Episode Recap

While a seared salmon salad from North by Northwest is delicious enough on its own, pairing it with Cactus Jack (the brewery’s prickly pear Saison) gave it additional crispness and flavor. The dish boasts of a whole-grain mustard crème fraiche, mango, tomato, asparagus and a citrus vinaigrette along with its key ingredient: salmon. Opposite it, the beer is known for being light, summery, and containing farmhouse flavors.

While many avoid pairing beers with salads due to the lighter qualities of the food, chef George Powell explained that a well-matched beer has the ability to work wonders for such a dish. In this case, he wanted to avoid overpowering the salmon, vinaigrette, and salad bed while blending in the flavors.

And that he did. The Saison’s earthy fruit flavors contributed to the freshness of the salad. While some beers provide a big punch to a pairing, this one added a perfect flavor arc. Balanced and refreshing, the combination was a huge success.