Which foods pair best with rosés? The question is almost beside the point. Rosés are made for warm summer evenings, dinners outdoors with friends and laughter. Serve dishes that fit with that kind of setting and you’re on the right road.
Think of summer foods, like tomato salads, olives, salumi, vegetables right off the grill. Rosés love brash flavors: salty, a little spicy, redolent of summer herbs like basil and oregano, and, of course, garlic.
Olives, cured with cumin and garlic or baked with herbs? Of course. Prosciutto and melon? Perfect. Toasts with tapenade? Even better.
Pork sausages right off the grill are terrific with rosés, and so are grilled vegetables, such as peppers, zucchini and eggplant, seasoned with handfuls of basil and moistened with good olive oil.
To my mind, there is no single better match for a dry rosé than a good aioli. Mash garlic and a little salt in a mortar and pestle. Beat in a couple of egg yolks, stirring until they’re lemon-colored. Very slowly, a drop at a time at the start, stir in olive oil and maybe a little lemon juice, depending on your preference (I think it helps match the wine better). It should be the consistency of soft mayonnaise.
Serve this with as many accompaniments as you have time to prepare. Steamed vegetables, such as cauliflower, green beans, fingerling potatoes and the stems from chard, are almost required, as are hard-boiled eggs. I also like artichokes, either simply steamed or steamed and then finished on the grill. Grilled onions are terrific too. And grilled seafood makes it feel like a meal — shrimp, squid, sardines or a combination.
And rosé-friendly dishes don’t have to be savory. If you’ve got a little bit of wine left in the bottle, try sipping it with sliced peaches or cut-up strawberries, just very lightly sweetened.