The pairing of wine and food is perhaps one of the things I love most about the two separate components. I love how wine brings out flavors in food and vice versa and how wine can be such a special part of memorable meal. There are lots of possibilities for pairing wine and food, and as is often said, if you like it, it’s good. There are definitely some guidelines to follow, mostly to pair wine with food so that neither is overwhelmed. You wouldn’t want to drink a big chewy Cabernet Sauvignon with oysters, for example. Unless you think it’s delicious, than go ahead!
Some foods are tougher than others when it comes to choosing wine. Our much-loved spring veggie, asparagus, with its strong flavors, is one of them. When a wine industry friend asked if I wanted to try some Grüner Veltliner and a traditional Viennese asparagus recipe, I of course jumped at the chance.
Since I couldn’t find the white asparagus that Austrians love to cook with so much, and because I am trying to lighten things up in the kitchen a little, I haven’t yet made the asparagus Hollandaise that came with the wine. Hollandaise is dangerous when in my possession; I can dip just about anything in it, and I especially love it with asparagus spears. This time around, I opted to do some roasted asparagus, covered with a drizzle of truffle oil (the last of my truffle oil!) and nutritional yeast.
I put the asparagus in the oven at 400 for about 20 minutes and got started on a simple topper, fried eggs.
The eggs ended up half perfectly runny and half broken and cooked through. The runny egg mixed exquisitely with the truffle oil over the asparagus; it wasn’t Hollandaise, but it was still delicious.
Traditional Austrian asparagus Hollandaise involves not just the asparagus and Hollandaise sauce, but also potatoes glazed in butter and speck ham. It is a hearty dish with rich, creamy textures and strong flavors. And Austria’s finest grape, Grüner Veltliner makes a perfect pairing. We tried a Karl Lagler Grüner Veltliner, a dry white wine with more body than one would expect. This wine exhibits a touch of acidity with orange and mineral notes, different than other Grüners I have tried in that I felt it had a little more body and oomph. Overall, I love Grüner, and this was no exception. Pairing with the egg yolk gave us an idea of what it might be like with a rich sauce, and it was perfect.
Fun fact: when I was growing up, we never had asparagus because my mother can not even stand to be in the same room with it cooking. I always thought I hated it until I got older and tried it at a restaurant. I love it!
Do you have a food that you thought you hated growing up, because of family influence or general feelings about it (hello oft-maligned Brussels Sprouts!)