Monday, February 20, 2012

#252 - Mantuano Shrimp, Sheep Feta & Arugula With Two Wines

Shrimp Lunch!

We finished up the Argiolas Rosado with this meal, which was the wine served with red beans & rice, my first tweet on the Twitter machine for this here blog (look over there --->).  I'm late to things but still patently refuse to Facebook.  No need in my world to know what Johnny McDouchington from high school English is doing these days (Johnny McDouchington, you know who you are).

Today's shrimp recipe is brought to you by Tony Mantuano, he of Spiagga fame (and The Purple Pig collaboration).  We'll be partaking in Bar Toma before the Tre Bicchieri tasting at Union Station tomorrow.  My expectations are...tempered.

But Mr. Mantuano is some crazy genius.  When taking into account the time it takes to prepare black garlic shrimp (infuse the oil, let it cool, blah, blah, blah), this one is too easy-peasy for words.  Five minutes and it's summertime refreshing and delicious.

Food:  Ouzo-flamed shrimp with lemon, parsley and garlic, sheep feta with pink peppercorns and honey and an arugula salad

Recipe here.  A Top Chef Masters ditty.  One pound of Whole Foods shrimp. The joy came in what happens to olive oil as it gets all the goodness that comes with combining lemon, parsley and garlic with an tiny edge of licorice from the flamed-up ouzo.  Makes you want to eat it on a patio is some hot-weather seaside clime with nothing to do and nowhere to go all day and eat it by the bucket.

Sheep's milk feta from Whole Foods topped with pink peppercorns and drenched in honey.  Sweetness from the honey, bite from the peppercorns, acid from cheese brine and a great milky depth from the cheese.

Baguette for dipping, topping and mopping.

Whole Foods arugula salad with olive oil and white balsamic vinegar.  We have feelings about arugula.  Whole Foods brings the greeny goodness but Jewel's organic line brings the sharp, bite-y coarseness.  Toss-up.  With this one, a saltiness to the arugula made it the winner...this week.

Leisurely two-hour lunch with wine on Monday (our Friday) feels like vacation every time.  Work seems like three days ago.  This could have been dinner and we'd have been thrilled.

Wine:  2010 Sigalas Assyrtiko Santorini ($20 - Binny's) & 2009 Argiolas Rosado Sardinia ($13 - Work)  

Something about assyrtiko that makes it more GREEK! compared to moschofilero.  Moschofilero, if given to me blind, I doubt I could nail it as Greek, probably guessing something like Albariño or Muscadet.  Assyrtiko has that Greek love in my limited experience.  Something weird and distinct that quickly grows on me.

This time, the 2010 came off all ocean rock mossy and frothy with a lemon guider and medium but utterly present acid, which is odd because the 2009 Sigalas Assyrtiko came off more like a cross between Albariño and Muscadet just two years ago.  The 2010 was a better representation of the grape in my book.  More distinctive, idiosyncratic and almost Portuguese in ways.  Great stuff.

The 2009 Argiolas Rosado, a staple at my place of employment, isn't anything close to special by itself.  Rather ordinary, actually.  But with food, especially the right food, it blows up, especially with arugula.  Mozzarella di bufala and arugula.  Prosciutto and arugula.  The fruit rounds out, vacillating between strawberry and delicious cherry and finishing with looooong minerals and rocks.  Everything snaps into line in such great ways.  It's a favorite.

Pairing:  89+  Crap!  Wine with lunch is just the tops!

We were given enough match-matchy elements in the food and wine to be just fine.  Lemon served as the tour guide with the shrimp prep and the wine, but a creaminess came off the garlic and ouzo to match up with the mossy-frothy element in the wine to jettison the pairing to a place of "ahhhhhh!"

The Argiolas was rather terrible with the shrimp but with the arugula, the fruit rounded out in pretty ways, giving the appearance of a sweetness to the fruit - big, round and ripe - that contrasted beautifully with what came off as a saltiness in the arugula.  Great contrast here.  A back-and-forth switch-up that just excelled.

Bison, yuca and El Jefe for dinner.  Good food day, I think.

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