I recently received some samples of one of my favorite types of wine, some Albariños from Rías Baixas, Spain. While traditional logic dictates that white wines be served with dishes that are lighter in flavor, I find the dry, complex citrus flavors of Albariños pair well with spicy foods. The two bottles sampled were a Salneval and a Bodegas Robaliño. For the first course I paired the Bodegas Robaliño with some simple, raw vegetable salads, including a modified celery root remoulade. I found some nice celery root at the Boulder County Winter Farmers’ Market and opted for a classic, cold presentation.
I cut the celery root into matchsticks by hand–I prefer more crunch than you get with a shredded version–and dressed it simply with fresh lemon juice, salt and ground white pepper, olive oil, and a good dose of Dijon mustard. This was served alongside a Morrocan-style carrot salad and assorted olives. This is a good example of how a white wine can pair well with strong flavors, as the Bodegas Robaliño citrus notes opened up and developed beautifully as we sampled it with the various salads.
For the second course I did some pimenton roasted lamb shanks with potatoes, a rich and aromatic dish that paired well will with the Salneval.
I used some pastured lamb shanks, a generous quantity of smoked paprika, and some crushed red pepper for a little heat. The potatoes were Rooster potatoes, a variety that has recently been introduced to the U.S. by Colorado grower Albert Bartlett, and I roasted them under the lamb shanks so they would soak up the juices. This variety of potato worked very well for the long, slow braise, as they held their shape but developed a creamy consistency that was completely infused with the flavors of the lamb and the sauce.
- 1 tablespoon smoked paprika (pimenton)
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 pounds of roasting potatoes, such as Rooster, peeled and cut into chunks
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- About three pounds of pastured lamb shanks
- 2 cups of water, plus more if needed
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Stir together the smoked paprika, salt, and crushed red pepper in a small bowl.
- Use the olive oil to coat the bottom of a five-quart French oven with a tight lid. Add the potatoes in a layer on the bottom of the pot, then sprinkle half of the spice mixture over the top. Sprinkle the garlic over the top of the potatoes, and then arrange the lamb shanks to cover the potatoes. Sprinkle on the remaining spice mixture.
- Pour in two cups of water and roast for 2-3 hours, covered, or until the lamb shanks are very tender. Check the pot each hour to make sure the liquid is not completely gone--you want some reduced juices, but you do not want it to go dry and burn.
It was a lovely meal, and I hope you will try this type of pairing.
Legal Stuff: I received product samples for this post, but was not compensated in any other other way. As always, all opinions are my own, and are genuine.
Thanks for reading,