It looks like I'm going to have to change my latest category heading from “cold” to “cool weather cuisine” since the temperatures here in South Florida have warmed up a bit - thank God! That 30 degree business is a little cold for me – I am a Native Floridian after all.
Last week I found myself gravitating towards pasta and I decided to try the Angel Hair Pasta with Oriental Sauce (pg. 194). I really love the flavors of Asian cuisine and the ingredients for this dish sounded very enticing: sesame oil, ginger, rice vinegar, soy sauce...mmmmm. The recipe recommends using either chicken or shrimp and I was in more of a shrimp kind of mood. Most dishes I make nowadays that call for ginger call for fresh ginger, however, this recipe calls for ground. I happened to have some on hand - you might also find you have most of the ingredients for this recipe already in your pantry - so I just picked up some pasta and shrimp at the store and headed home.
Now I know I’ve said this before and I am going to day it again – this dish really couldn’t be easier to make - thank you, "Savor the Moment!" First, I got the shrimp marinating in a little shrimp Jacuzzi of sherry, sesame oil, soy sauce and ginger and popped them in the fridge to marinate. Then I combined the lemon juice, rice vinegar (I used unseasoned), soy sauce, sugar and red pepper, mixed well and set aside. Then, after heating up the peanut oil in a saucepan, I added the garlic and the powdered ginger to the pan. This is where I started to scratch my head. I doubled the recipe, because it only made two servings and I loves me some leftovers, and it just seemed to be alot of powdered ginger. I proceeded to add the shrimp to the pan with the marinade and things seemed to look a little better, the liquid helped to dissolve the powder. When the shrimp were cooked through, I added the lemon juice mixture. Even though the liquid helped, there was still an unusual grainy consistency to the sauce which seemed to get better the longer it cooked. I continued cooking the dish until it was heated through and then served it up in some of my favorite Apilco porcelain serving bowls. The pattern is called “Ocean” and features various marine motifs around the inner rim of the bowl, I just love using them whenever we have any kind of seafood dish.
As for a wine to pair with this meal, there are just so many fun options! A rosé, sparkling wine or Champagne would be fabulous (but, of course, they’re fabulous with everything), so would a Gewurtztraminer, Riesling (Kabinett or Auslese) or Sauvignon Blanc. If you were in the mood for a red, a Beaujolais would be a nice choice as well. There was a great article in the Wall Street Journal a few years back on pairing wines with different types of Asian cuisine. In the article, whites such as Riesling and Sauvignon Blanc were preferred more often by the experts than reds. When a red was recommended, it was usually a lighter, fruitier style one. So if you are a fan of wine AND Asian food (like I am) this is really a great reference (click on the word article and it will take you to the link).
Upon tasting the dish, the flavors were right on with the exception of the powdered ginger. It had an unusual texture and odd aftertaste that Steve and I weren’t really digging. I would actually like to try making this dish again using fresh ginger because it really has great potential! The next day, however, I tried it for lunch and, as a cold dish, it was actually much, much better! The flavors had really melded together well and the powdered ginger aftertaste had definitely subsided. So, if you plan on trying this dish, you might want to serve it cold and I would also recommend chopping up some scallions and sprinkling them over the top for some nice color.
Enjoy and if you have any experiences with pairing beverages with Asian cuisine (wine or otherwise) I would love to hear about them. Cheers!