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7 Inspired Recipes To Use Up Flat Champagne

Lemon and crab risotto is made with champagne.

Main photo: Lemon and crab risotto, garnished with mint and red pepper flakes, is an inspired way to use some of your leftover champagne or sparkling wine. Credit: Emily Grosvenor

There’s nothing sadder than dumping even part of a bottle of Champagne that’s lost its fizz the day after New Year’s. So don’t do it.

If you didn’t remember to stop up your leftover Champagne and put it in the fridge, plan to incorporate the rest of your sparkling into a couple of easy dishes and start 2015 with a burst of creativity in the kitchen. You can rest easy knowing one of the highlights of your holiday revelry did not go to waste.

Champagnes and sparkling wines lose their bubbles at different rates and based on several factors. The warmer the environment, the more quickly the Champagne will release the carbon dioxide bubbles and go flat. Sparkling wines nearly always differ in how much carbonation is in the bottle. But once you’ve determined your Champagne is flat, there’s a bevy of options to save its flavor.

Champagne adds body to marinades, contrast to fruit syrups, subtle nuance to your favorite risotto dish, sweetness to soup. Without its fizz, it has lost that effervescence that made it so attractive in the first place and likely tastes too off to drink by itself, but it is just as versatile and a lovely addition to some of your favorite dishes. Actually, any recipe incorporating white wine would do well with a dose of flattened Champagne, but there can be some lingering sweetness, so be sure to take that into account when choosing how to use it.

Even if you have a bottle that’s been sitting corked in your fridge for a week, you can use what’s left over to give some of your everyday dishes a big, ambitious kick (as in the case of the crab and lemon risotto recipe, below), or just a small dose of surprise (like in Champagne French toast). All it takes to impart the lasting flavor of most flattened Champagnes into your favorite dishes is about a quarter to half a cup of leftover sparkling.

Here are some great dishes to try once your Champagne has gone flat.

1. Lemon Crab Risotto With Mint and Hot Pepper Flakes

Set a saucepan with four cups chicken stock to medium on one burner. On another burner, in a large-mouthed pan, sauté 1/4 cup shallots in 2 tablespoons of butter until they are translucent but not brown. Add 2 cups Arborio rice and 1/4 cup leftover Champagne, stirring constantly. Stir until liquid has evaporated. Keep adding hot stock and stirring until the rice has plumped. When all the stock has been incorporated, stir in 1 tablespoon of unsalted butter and the juice and rind from 1 lemon. Add 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese if desired. Just before serving, stir in 8 ounces of fresh crab meat. Garnish with hot pepper flakes and fresh torn mint leaves.

2. Champagne Syrup

In a saucepan, mix 1 cup leftover Champagne with 1/3 cup sugar and 1/2 cup water. Mix in the zest from one lemon plus 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice. Add one cinnamon stick. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, stirring often, for about 5 minutes, or until all the sugar has dissolved. Remove from heat and let cool for half an hour. Pour over your favorite pound cake, seasonal fruit or raspberries.

3. Sole Poached in Champagne

In a large, non-stick pan, sauté one chopped onion in 1 tablespoon of olive oil until soft. Add 1 teaspoon of salt, 1/2 teaspoon of  lemon rind and one finely chopped garlic cove. Lay fish on top of onions. Pour chopped tomatoes and parsley over fish, then pour 1/4 cup leftover Champagne around fish. Cover loosely with foil and cook over medium heat 8-10 minutes, or until fish flakes away.

4. Champagne Salad Dressing

Mix 1/2 cup mild-flavored extra virgin olive oil with 1/4 cup leftover Champagne, ¼ cup white wine vinegar, a pinch of sugar. Add salt and freshly ground pepper to taste.

5. Champagne French Toast

Use your favorite French toasting bread (we recommend day-old Challah) cut into slices 1-inch thick. Mix four large eggs at room temperature with 1/2 cup half and half, 1/4 cup Champagne and a teaspoon of sugar and a pinch of sea salt. Soak the bread in the egg and cream mixture for one minute and then fry in foamy hot butter on each side until golden.

6. Champagne Marinade for Salmon

Add 1/4 cup leftover Champagne to 1/3 cup olive oil. Mix 1/2 teaspoon dry mustard with 1/2 teaspoon dried basil leaves and 1/4 teaspoon thyme and a dash of salt and pepper. Marinate your favorite grilling fish in the marinade for at least two hours and brush with the marinade while grilling.

7. Champagne Soup

In a medium-sized saucepan, boil four cups vegetable stock with five de-skinned and chopped Anjou pears. Add the zest and juice of one lemon and 1 cup Champagne. Cook until pears are tender, about 10 minutes. Carefully puree the soup and stock until smooth in a food processor or with an immersion blender. Add the Champagne, lemon zest and juice and stir until smooth. Salt and pepper to taste.

Main photo: Lemon and Crab Risotto With Mint and Red Pepper Flakes is an inspired way to use some of your leftover Champagne or sparkling wine. Credit: Emily Grosvenor



Zester Daily contributor Emily Grosvenor, based in Oregon wine country, is an award-winning reporter, travel writer and essayist who has written about octogenarian farmers who mow labyrinths in the grass, the secrets of the Oregon State Hospital, a runway model-turned salumi stuffer, a toddler with an Oedipus complex, and what it is like to be a super sniffer living in the fragrant American West. Her passion for capturing place, for sketching scenes, for discovering people, and for always finding the meaning of being a stranger in a strange land has led her to frequent work for publications like The Atlantic, Sunset, AAA Via, Portland Monthly, Salon.com and Publishers Weekly. An evangelist for the power of the sense of smell, she lives in McMinnville, Oregon, where she is writing a funny memoir about connecting to place through scent.

6 COMMENTS
  • judith Norman 1·5·15

    Rarely do I see a complete set of recipes as enticing, useful, easy to make as I did in this article. It was too late to help me use leftover champagne for these holidays, but I printed it out and am now ready for the next set of holidays. Great job!

  • Emily Grosvenor 1·5·15

    Thanks so much for reading it and enjoying it. No more wasted champagne!

  • Elaine Corn 1·6·15

    Inspired idea. Great story!

  • MARION Ukstins 1·6·15

    I’m not quite understanding your directions for Champagne Soup.
    Sentence two says, “Add the zest and juice of one lemon and 1 cup Champagne.”
    A few sentences down it says, “Add the Champagne, lemon zest and juice and stir until smooth.” More Champagne, lemon zest, and lemon juice? Please clarify.

  • Emily Grosvenor 1·8·15

    Whoops! Looks like too much champagne and lemon zest. It need only be added once. Thanks for the comment, Marion.

  • Leseliza 7·29·17

    Excellent ideas, answers to questions, ponderings I’ve long had.
    All much appreciated! Love to hear more.. culinary & practical.
    (Also.. after a 2nd read & some common sense, directions for ‘Soup’ seemed clear enough.. Wouldn’t
    want you to be discouraged ).

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