Last week I received a couple of fine bottles of wine, courtesy of Thirsty Girl and Erath Winery, with a challenge to come up with some food pairings for the set of Pinots. You all know how I love a challenge–particularly one involving wine–so of course I got right to work. There is something really pleasant about having a glass of wine in the afternoon and being able to say to your significant other, “I have to drink this, it’s my job.”
For the Pinot Gris I wanted to do a seafood pairing, and my initial thought was grilled shrimp. The Pinot Gris has a strong citrus note and a brisk finish, so grilled shrimp worked well. Because this is a white wine that will stand up to a spicy dish, I paired the shrimp with a simple, no-cook spicy peanut sauce with cilantro (recipe below). A nice dish to enjoy on the deck with a cold glass of wine.
For the Pinot Noir I wanted to stick with grilling–it is still wicked hot here–and it has been ages since we have had ribs. I made my own barbecue sauce (sugar free, and the recipe will be coming up in a future post), bought a slab of Beeler’s ribs, and cooked them low and slow with a dry rub.
I served these with the homemade sauce, some grilled zucchini with Parmesan, and, of course, the Pinot Noir. The wine had a nice level of acidity to balance out the rich pork ribs, and the berry overtones worked well with the spicy, slightly fruity flavor of the barbecue sauce. I added Aleppo pepper to the sauce, and the fruity quality of the pepper seems to work exceptionally well with red wines. Pepper and wine pairings…could be a new thing. The ribs were nothing short of fantastic.
The dinner was a success, and I was happy with the pairings. Both wines would stand up well to a variety of spicy foods, so they are ideal for barbecues. Here is the recipe for the grilled shrimp, based on a pound of shrimp–you can double or triple the sauce and shrimp amounts if you have more guests to feed:
- 1 pound raw, peeled and deveined shrimp
- ½ cup smooth peanut butter
- ⅓ cup coconut milk (light or regular)
- 1 teaspoon minced garlic
- 1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce
- ½ teaspoon Aleppo pepper (or crushed red pepper)
- juice of one lime
- ½ cup fresh cilantro (reserve a small amount for garnish)
- To prepare the shrimp, pat them dry with paper toweling. Set your grill to medium-high heat (or use an indoor grill pan over medium high), and grill the shrimp until they are just curled and cooked through--about two minutes per side, depending on the size. Set aside.
- For the peanut sauce, combine all remaining ingredients in a blender and pulse until smooth. If you like a thinner sauce, add more coconut milk and blend again. Taste and adjust seasonings as needed.
- Spoon the sauce into a serving bowl, sprinkle with the reserved cilantro, and serve with the shrimp. Both the sauce and the shrimp are good either hot or at room temperature, so this dish can be made in advance.
Thirsty Girl is hosting a wine chat Tweet-up this Wednesday, with the hashtag #TGTaste, so join up if you want to learn more about pairings or otherwise share in the discussion. Details: “Wednesday, August 15th at 5 pm/PDT 8 pm EDT sponsored by Erath wines in gorgeous Oregon wine country.”
Disclosure: Wine for this post was provided by Erath and Thirsty Girl, but all opinions are my own, and are genuine. Genu-wine.
Thanks for reading,