April 15th, 2010 by Melissa
Spring is sprung! Even as it comes with lots of showers and stormy, changeable weather, it is undeniably here in all its glory. My thoughts turn from winter foods of root vegetables, stews, and dark, brooding red wine to something fresher and lighter. Asparagus is quintessentially spring, but is also notoriously hard to pair with wine. Ever up for a challenge, I set out to make a dinner featuring fresh, local asparagus from the farmer’s market.
Searching online, I found the following words of warning: “Certain chemicals in asparagus can make your wine taste vegetal, grassy, or just plain rotten. No other ingredient…is the target of such fear, disdain, and discussion. Asparagus has been likened to Kryptonite; it is the enemy, it ruins perfectly nice vino. But it’s too delicious to ignore entirely.” OK, now I’m scared but, like Mr. Cury, agree that I must forge ahead.
On to his advice: “1) Grill the asparagus so there’s a char 2) Cover it in sauce 3) Serve with a creamy dressing 4) Look for thin spears, which may have less of that darned chemical.” Well, my beautiful spring asparagus is young and thin, so number 4 is taken care of. I can’t bear the thought of covering it with a cheese or hollandaise sauce or creamy dressing – that seems antithetical to the whole idea of the fresh light of spring. So, I decided to start with the grilling idea. It was a bit wet and stormy to grill outside, so I parboiled them, plunged them in ice water, dried them off, broiled them with a splash of olive oil, and put a dash of sea salt on them. To accompany it, I made some bowtie pasta with a touch of a light cream sauce to add that component without covering the asparagus with it, and roasted a chicken.
Finally, looking at Mr. Cury’s wine pairing advice, his first suggestion is a crisp, refreshing Sauvignon Blanc or unoaked Chardonnay. Well – to me that screamed 47 Friends White Table Wine: a blend of Sauvignon Blanc and a bit of unoaked Chardonnay. Voila – perfecto! The broiled asparagus was delicious, the white sauce on the pasta gave a rich coating to the mouth, balancing the char of the asparagus, and the crisp acidity of the 47 Friends White Table Wine cut through to provide a light, fresh taste to blend the entire dinner together.
Ah, the wonders of Spring. Grab your 47 Friends – and enjoy!
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