Non-Alcoholic Wine and Food Pairing
Q&A with Chef Zacarías González of Ediciones Projects
The Studio Null team hosted a launch party in Brooklyn to celebrate the release of two new non-alcoholic wines from Spain: Solo Garnacha and Sparkling Verdejo. For the occasion, we asked Chef Zacarías González to create the perfect food pairings for our best nonalcoholic wine yet. Below, Zacarías shares more about creative inspiration and a (relatively) easy recipe for the squid ink paella that our launch party guests are still talking about.
photos @fujioemura & @bellamybrewster
SN: Zacarías, thank you for taking the time to chat with us. How would you describe your work?
ZG: I’m a multi-disciplinary artist from the Cuban diaspora who often uses food as their medium. I love to work collaboratively when possible and my recent work has focused on projects that center around food insecurity and food systems and future food systems. Some of my recent work has included partnerships and dinners with MoMA, MoMA PS1, Brooklyn Museum, Pioneer Works and Sky High Farm.
SN: Where do the ideas behind your recipes come from?
ZG: My recipes are personal and are typically born out of what tastes good to me through the broad prism of influences. What makes me feel good that can be made with what is available to me. While I may wistfully wish for certain nostalgic flavors, most everything I make in New York is filtered through what’s seasonally available; while I’m glad that I have access to some ingredients that have Caribbean origins I oft end up supplementing locally. Maybe that answers that more from a sourcing POV so idea-wise everything I love to cook or develop has to come from feeling, feeling of love of joy even if it’s simple or singularly focused. The perfect roast chicken, or doing a pasta dish over and over again, or the absolute love of soaking black beans and slow cooking them for a day, that's kinda my perfect love affair.
SN: What’s interesting to you about non-alcoholic wine?
ZG: I think that there’s a strong current of people wanting to imbibe but explore alternatives in the realm of fermentation that specifically have no alcohol or very low. I am fascinated by the realm of possibilities to see what people make that is done thoughtfully, respectfully to land and farming, that also is good for our bodies. Non-alcoholic wine, low ABV, co-ferments, ciders, Kombuchas I love seeing all of these beverages becoming more forefront. It’s refreshing to see it not be taboo and have a lot of thought put into.
SN: How do you like to bring your communities (friends, family, neighbors, etc.) together — and can you tell us a little bit about who they are?
ZG: Simply put the best and favored way of bringing together my communities is usually centered on food— sharing—making it—eating together. I love having friends over for dinner and try to do it at least once a week if not more. Aside from but close second to sharing food together is helping one another on projects but that inevitably ends up involving food too, be it working on a project or whatever we have to eat and eating with people you love makes food taste better. One of my favorite mantras this year is if you are not present you can’t taste the food being served. Community wise I’ve been working as a co-director with a curator friend on a project called opl for the past six months, it’s an artist residency program focused on sustainability in arts practices that’s going to be partnered with Industry City here in Brooklyn! Ediciones partnered with opl to not only collaborate on the artist residency but culinary arts and community and specifically thinking about future food systems, local farmers I deeply respect in NYC etc. I’m excited to bring that all together for a month of public programs that really encompass a lot of my passions and interests, and bring people together through food to think about food and designing/building/co-creating our futures. Another community I adore is Index Space that’s opening a unique co-working, studio, community space in Chinatown that’s extremely in-tune with artists communities, designers, and fostering education, IRL experiences, and just a beautiful curiosity to what I feel like it means to be human. Food included. Last but not least another design agriculture community I love and spend my time with is The Wine Zine, I feel again it’s fueled by curiosity, joy, sharing, questioning, and thinking about future agriculture and I always love to share and contribute with food to that group.
SN: What art have you been into these days?
ZG: Art that I’ve been enjoying atm I’ve been so grateful to be around a lot of artist friends and curator friends. Outside of institutional spaces I’ve really been loving the process of preparing for opl’s artist residency and working with an artist Ryan Towns on their photography focused on portraits of the queer community at Riis Beach. It’s Frieze this week so I’m excited for whatever I’m about to see. I think to better answer your question even though we live in an age that’s mind numbingly saturated with photography it’s still one of my favorite mediums.
SN: Where can our followers find you?
ZG: @zacariasggonzalez @edicionesprojects @opl.xyz
4 cups seafood stock
1 cup water
½ cup white wine
¼ teaspoon crushed saffron threads
1 small yellow onion, chopped (about 1 cup)
1 small red bell pepper, chopped (about 1 cup)
4 plum tomatoes, seeds removed, diced
4 garlic cloves
2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
½ pound peeled and deveined large raw shrimp, tails on
1 ½ teaspoons kosher salt, divided
¾ pound whole cleaned skinless squid tubes, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
3 teaspoon smoked paprika
2 cups bomba rice or Arborio rice
3 teaspoons squid ink
½ pound littleneck clams in shells, scrubbed
½ pound fresh mussels, scrubbed and debearded
2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1 lemon, cut into wedges
- Combine seafood stock, water, wine, and saffron in a medium saucepan. Bring to a simmer over high; cover and reduce heat to low. Keep over low heat until ready to use. I like to do a 50/50 of seafood stock and chicken stock – personal preference.
- Pulse onion, bell pepper, tomatoes, and garlic in a food processor until finely chopped, 6 to 8 times.
- Heat 1+ tablespoon of the olive oil in a 15-inch paella pan over 2 burners on medium-high. Add shrimp to the pan; sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon of the salt. Cook until the shrimp are golden on both sides, 1 to 1 1/2 minutes per side. Remove from pan, and set aside. Be mindful the pan is thin and heats very quickly.
- Add the onion mixture, squid, and remaining 1 teaspoon salt to the pan; cook, stirring occasionally, until nearly all the liquid evaporates, 7 to 8 minutes. Stir in paprika, and cook 2 more minutes, taste, and season more to your preference.
- Add rice and remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil. Cook, stirring constantly, until rice is slightly translucent, about 1 minute. Remove 1/2 cup of stock mixture, and reserve for use in Step 6; stir remaining stock mixture into paella.
- Add squid ink, and stir just until rice is evenly distributed. (Do not overstir.) Cook over medium-high, 15 minutes, without stirring. Rotate the pan to ensure even heating. If paella begins to look dry in parts, add reserved stock mixture to that area, 1 to 2 tablespoons at a time.
- Add clams, hinge side down, equally spaced around the pan. Cover and cook 4 minutes. Add mussels, hinge side down. Cover and cook another 4 minutes. Distribute shrimp evenly in pan, and cook another 4 minutes, uncovered. Increase heat to high, and cook, without stirring, 2 minutes. Remove from heat; cover with aluminum foil, and let rest 10 minutes. Top with parsley. Serve with lemon wedges. Garnish with more smoked paprika. Enjoy