The Daley Question

Can I use Marsala instead of Madeira in sauce?

Yes, says Chef Susan Spicer of Bayona in New Orleans

  • Pin It

If a recipe calls for Madeira wine, can I use Marsala instead? (Bill Hogan / Chicago Tribune)

Q: I am planning to make Susan Spicer's goat cheese croutons with wild mushrooms and Madeira cream from her "Crescent City Cooking." I don't have any Madeira. Is Marsala an acceptable substitute?

--Andrew Maselli, Chicago

A: "Yes," says Spicer, owner of Bayona Restaurant in New Orleans. "I think Marsala would be an excellent substitute. Both are fortified wines with a rich nutty flavor that is delicious with mushrooms."

A richer style of sherry could also work if neither Madeira or Marsala were available, she says.

The true Madeira is made on the eponymous island, which is held by Portugal. Spicer's recipe calls for either a "Sercial" (pronounced "SER-shul"), which is light, dry, and has a flavor profile akin to dry sherry, or "Rainwater" Madeira, which "The New Wine Lover's Companion" describes as "medium dry." True Marsala is made near the city of that name in Sicily, the "Companion" notes, and is made with varying ranges of sweetness.

Both Madeira and Marsala are fortified – as is sherry – so that means the wine gets a shot of brandy or some other alcohol to bolster its overall alcohol content.

Spicer's recipe from her cookbook may be found below.

Goat cheese croutons with wild mushrooms and Madeira cream

Prep: 30 minutes

Makes: Four servings

A recipe from "Crescent City Cooking" by Susan Spicer with Paula Disbrowe.

For the goat cheese croutons:

1/4 cup fresh goat cheese, softened to room temperature

1 tablespoon butter, softened

4 slices 7-grain (or any whole-grain) bread

For the Madeira cream:

2 tablespoons shallots, finely chopped

1 cup Madeira (such as Rainwater or Sercial)

1 cup heavy cream

For the mushrooms:

  • Pin It

Search our recipe database:

Search Recipes  

Food Trends, Tips & Recipes

Season your turkey with Cuban flavors

Season your turkey with Cuban flavors

Give thanks for a turkey seasoned with memories.

Dressed in black

Halloween fare dressed in black

Set an elegant tone come Oct. 31 for a grown-up Halloween dinner with noir-hued dishes.

EATINGWELL: Healthy caramel apple needn't be short on taste

Healthy caramel apple that's not short on taste

This healthy caramel apple recipe has just enough caramel to give a nice hit of salty-sweet flavor in each bite for a tasty dessert.

Rich pumpkin tart without using dairy

Rich pumpkin tart without using dairy

A cheesecake-like pumpkin tart made vegan with tofu is flavorful and rich.