Friday, May 28, 2010

green on green

Last night my book group converged on my home to discuss Richard Yates' novel Cold Spring Harbor. Yates also wrote Revolutionary Road and his themes of American angst and domestic unease always suit our group. We are rabid readers of classic fiction and combine our literary passion with lots of eating and wine drinking.
Some times our literary passions get the better of us. A casualty of the table.

Freshly picked flowers from the garden contributed to the Springtime mood of the evening.

Our book discussions are conducted over dinner and they are the highlight of my month. I t is especially fun when it is my turn to host. Spring weather was on the menu. I put fresh greens and herbs into every dish. My trip to Union Square Green Market earlier in the week resulted in armloads of mixed greens and lettuces. I made a braise of artichoke hearts, edamame and peas with a splash of white wine and a large handful of pea shoots. 

Braised Artichoke Hearts with Edamame and Peas

I found a vendor who sold beautiful loose mixed baby greens and I quickly filled a large bag. All I needed to do was heat some olive oil in a saute pan, I then added garlic cloves and chile peppers, cooked garlic till golden, added about a two inch piece of peeled ginger sliced, and then the greens, still a bit wet from being washed. They cooked down to a tender wilt in about three minutes.

Spicy Greens with Ginger

These two simple dishes really highlighted what is best at the farmer's markets right now. Young fresh  greens can go into everything, they cook quickly and are good for you!

Wine pairing, however, may be a challenge. Amanda, What would you serve?

Yes, the wine pairing would be a little challenging. But we could definitely make it work! For the first dish, be sure to stay with something bright and crisp with good acidity. Artichokes are one of those "difficult" vegetables to pair with wine, but I wouldn't say impossible. First, out of curiousity, how long did you braise the veggies? Just wondering how long you needed to let the artichokes cook. I don't have a whole lot of experience preparing them - but I love them!

A nice clean Sauvignon Blanc, or crisp Albarino would do the trick here. Something "zippy" would work well. You could even use the same wine for the braising. These wines are fresh, and I think the crisp, lively quality of these wines would be a great complement to this light, warm-weather dish.

Now, a question about the greens - what type of greens were in the mix? They do look beautiful! But these aren't salad greens, correct? I would think those wouldn't stand up to sauteeing? These look more like swiss chard or collard greens? I can't tell exactly what they are from the picture. Just curious.

Again, for this light dish I would stick with white. Something from Alsace, France would be my first choice. Pinot Blanc, Pinot Gris or Riesling would all work well. Whenever I think of ginger, I consider these wine options. Definitely stick with something "dry" for this recipe. Zind-Humbrecht is one of my favorite Alsace producers, and makes many wonderful wines. Their Gewurztraminer is to die for, as are most of their gems! Hugel et fils is another producer to look for, and they have an affordable line-up as well.

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