Tuesday, July 26, 2011

#210 - Shrimp On Fire, Plantains & Brussels Sprouts Slaw With '06 Pichler Riesling

Ever have a meal that teetered on the line of too spicy hot to eat but effectively held on the line enough to enjoy it for its mouth-scalding fiery goodness?

That was Shrimp On Fire, not the name of the actual recipe, just what resulted from substituting the presumed heat equivalent of six arbol chilies with about twenty old, presumably flavor-faded, piri piri peppers.


It reminded me of the Modern Family episode where Cameron orders the Diablo at a Mexican restaurant.  We had the fiery shrimp sweats with eyes watering and the inside of our mouths screaming bloody murder.

In ways, we liked it for its heat and the underlying peanut in the sauce was delicious.

No wine was going to save this pairing, unfortunately.  We needed booze in the form of margaritas or something to counter the heat, which was too bad because the Pichler was all sorts of interesting, even elegant.

Food:  Shrimp on fire, plantains and Brussels sprouts slaw

Trader Joe's frozen Argentinean shrimp (no more Japanese shrimp at Trader Joe's for the foreseeable future, for obvious reasons), sautéed and dunked in a peanut-arbol chile salsa recipe from this month's Saveur (not available on the web yet).  Unsalted peanuts, piri-piri substitute, thyme, allspice berries, garlic, onion, apple cider vinegar, olive oil, salt and peppercorns, all essentially sautéed in oil and blended.

Wasn't so over-the-top hot that it was inedible, just a lot of heat that defined the meal.  The sauce will most likely be used again as a very pretty peanut undertone led us to believe that this recipe is a keeper.  We'll just get arbols next time.  In fact, we ate every one of the shrimp, enjoying the "scorched earth in the mouth" policy that the copious amounts of piri-piri adopted.  Tons of flavors here, just HOT!

Fried plantains, always a personal favorite and a Brussels sprouts slaw consisting of Brussels sprouts, red bell pepper, green bell pepper, carrot and ginger; mayo, honey, soy sauce, orange juice dressing
mint and pomegranate seeds with lime wedges for spritzing.  There was a hope that the slaw would sop up some of the heat but it didn't have a chance.

Neither did the wine.

Wine:  2006 Rudi Pichler Riesling Federspiel Wachau ($15, down from $40 - WDC)

I've mentioned this before but Wine Discount Center on Elston typically has the bargain goods in the Austrian and German white arena (along with so much more).  They gobble up rieslings, grüners and anything else Austrian and German that have a few years on them at bargain-basement prices and pass along the value in great ways.

Whites from vintages from many of the big names that have lost their cachet so huge markdowns are the result.  Austrian and German wines continue to be a niche market so when a wine from a few years ago has slowed in the sales world, discounts result and WDC does a great job with it.  $50 (sometimes as high as $80) release prices get marked down to $15-25 just because it's a single-vineyard 2005 that the regular shopper doesn't know anything about, won't take a chance on and the people that do know (which is a relative few compared to most regions) already bought.  They typically have PLENTY of drinking life left in them and last night's Pichler was no exception.

Stone fruits, grapefruit and some green-red apple hybrid that probably doesn't exist with a graceful mineral core in its simplest form but Mrs. Ney nailed its essence with the white raspberry and salted alfalfa sprouts descriptors.  Less sugar than expected but a pleasing light touch that accented the fruit in graceful, subdued ways.  Nice length with an elegant and proper order of entry to finish.  More of a textbook example with a few surprises coming from the interesting fruit than something of idiosyncratic distinction but delicious nonetheless.  Should have upped the sugar and alcohol quotient with a smaragd for the pairing though, or did the more prudent thing and had a tequila-based beverage.

Pairing:  30 Dead in the water

Had no chance.  Too much heat in the shrimp overwhelmed the wine, though it certainly made valiant efforts, putting up a fight in the first round only to be laid out in the first minute of the second.

No comments:

Post a Comment