Tuesday, June 12, 2012

#283 - Gigante Beans & Scallops In Pea Purée With '11 Palmina Pinot Grigio

We were thinking last night that if a person could have only two sources of recipes from chefs/food people in which they had to eat, nothing else, that person would eat quite well with Jamie Oliver and Michael Symon.

It would be the trifecta: cheap, diverse and heavily herbed food goodness that would never get boring.

Mrs. Ney takes from oodles of sources in many forms in our apartment and on the interwebs, but anytime we see those two on TV, either from the bevy of Jamie Oliver's BBC shows or Symon's Suppers on The Cooking Channel ( a show that seems to be rounding into a Jamie Oliver-type show for the American audience), it gets both of us instantly excited to Eat. That. Food!

Another source Mrs. Ney found that she's starting to see as a pretty great little thing is the Palmina website recipe page. It's Italian food with a California edge catered directly to the wines Palmina makes; tried-and-true recipes made specifically not only for the varietals they offer but more for the specific expression of Palmina's Italian varietals. In other words, Italian wines with a California edge. Palmina took the time to get in there and find what works with their wines and that's a good thing. Our last experience taken from their site, polenta panini & roasted beet salad with the 2010 Palmina Malvasia Bianca was something pretty great - fancy, delicious patio food and wine.

This one was no different.

Food: Gigante beans and scallops in a pea and mint purée with baguette and butter

Scallop recipe here. Bean recipe here with some (big) alterations.

Scallop recipe played straight, offering everything scallops in pea and mint purée offer. Goodness. Too many scallops for us (eight apiece), signaling to us again that scallops present themselves best in appetizer form, as a complement to something else, something more, another star. They bring enormous depth, focus and diversion to an all-around meal but suffer, for us, when asked to be the star. We didn't have that problem with this meal with the presence of the beans.

The recipe is white bean crostini. The bean spread was used as a reference point here to take the beans to another place. Dried gigante beans instead of canned cannellini beans, kept whole instead of roughly puréed into a spread. The gigante beans (which is fun to say) took a hella long time to cook but it was worth it. Some additions to boot, with Aleppo pepper and garlic added, the entire concoction then dumped in a bowl and covered with EVOO (that silly Trader Joe's arbequina olive oil - great product there). The result was a tapas-y bean dish that just sung with its delicious meaty, fresh, beany, Mediterranean delightfulness. Tasted so confident, like it was made to steal the spotlight from virtually anything. Rosemary flying everywhere, shallots bringing depth and the gigante beans always making sure everyone knew they were in the lead.

Baguette and butter to round things out.

TJ's Flower pepper used on the scallops and in the gigante bean prep that served beautifully as a floral baseline to the food and, with the rosemary, became a vital and great link to the lovely wine.

Wine:  2011 Palmina Pinot Grigio Santa Barbara County ($18 - Winery)

We don't love pinot grigio. Don't even like it. But here's a good one giving all the good aspects of the grape and leaving behind the bad while playing above its price tag when served with this food.

Lemon is jumping in many forms here, showing lemon curd, verbena, peel and even a lemon thyme component with all that buttressed by a delicate but substantial creamy body. Something darker playing quietly underneath, something like quince or smoked pear, all with an acid that guides the way nicely.

By itself, good enough. Simple and drinkable. With food, an herbal component 2/3 of the way down exploded and everything fell in line and amped up its complexity to something so surprising.

It's great to be wrong about broad wine generalizations. Pinot grigio...in this form...with this food...hello...you're not too shabby.

Pairing:  91  So surprising, so matchy, such a great one-off

Would we do this again just like this? Nah.

But we would do these gigante beans just like this and we'd certainly eat them with this wine. Together, they're a textbook food and wine pairing with the rosemary and fresh meatiness of the beans utterly perfect with the citrus, light cream and herbal offerings in the wine. Fine stuff with the scallops but those crazy beans with the wine stole the show.

It reminded me so much of the polenta panini and Palmina's malvasia pairing. Unique stuff there and unique stuff here but something oh-so similar about the newness and surprise.

I think Palmina has a customer for life.

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