Last week, I was in the Cape, existing more or less solely on seafood. One dish, if you will, that has transcended New England appeal and now is making a showing in the trendiest spots in NYC (including out of basements in Brooklyn) is the lobster roll.
Simple in preparation, it consists of about four ounces of cold lobster meat, a mix of claw, knuckle and often tail. This is delicately coated with mayonnaise that may include a other herbs or secret sauce and placed on a bed of shredded lettuce in a hot dog bun, sliced from the top and often lightly grilled or toasted. The end result is lip-smacking, finger licking good. (I snapped the above pic with a cameraphone at Captain Frosty’s in Dennis; it can also come with fries as is standard in the delicious rendition at Osterville Fish Too in Barnstable.)
So, even if there’s no wine on the menu at most clam shacks, the wine geek’s mind wanders…which wine would you pair with a lobster roll? Or is it…impossible?!?
Well, for those with a set of steel, head on over to the seventh (!) annual World Testicle Cooking Championship in Serbia. There, the AP reports that chefs prepare bull, boar, camel, ostrich and kangaroo testicles in such dishes as testicle pizza and testicles in bechamel sauce. Outback oysters!
Needless to say, the AP ensures us that “visitors eat the dishes with plenty of wine or beer…” So what hedonistic fruit bombs would you drop on this menu to make it a perfect pair?
Cropped AP Photo/Marko Drobnjakovic
We haven’t had any meat in our impossible pairings series since the bacon explosion. Generally, meat is too easy for us all to pair. So cranking up the degree of difficulty, today we present you the challenge of the pulled pork sandwich.
At the base level it’s not all that hard: a shoulder of pork is smoked (or a whole hog is roasted in eastern North Carolina) and then chopped, shredded or sliced. Then comes the question of sauce. In most places outside of the Carolinas, a sweet barbecue sauce is generally stirred into the meat, forming a gloopy, orange mass of sweet meat that is then plopped on a bun. The haute BBQ places will actually let you add your your own sauce and slaw…which is where it gets tricky.
Some regional variations favor a mustard based sauce. Others have a thin sauce based on cider vinegar while others add a dash of tomato and a dash of sugar. Still other styles have brown sugar or molasses. Finally, there’s the sweet, think mass that is KC Masterpiece.
And the slaw that can go on top presents its own challenges: shredded cabbage, grated carrot, dunked in a sauce of mayonnaise, cider vinegar and sugar.
So make your sandwich the way you like it. And suggest a wine pairing, if it’s not…impossible!
(You ever eat Époisses after a huge meal? Run out a pound of the stuff, some big, bad supersomething red wine and plenty of bread as the candles on your table sputter, and everyone deconstructs what just happened, what was served and why and how it made everyone feel? Life gets strange and fast. Époisses is like a drug. It’s the tequila of cheese.)
So writes Sam Sifton, NYT restaurant critic, in a blog post about David Chang’s new restaurant, Ma Peche.
Epoisses, of course, is a deliciously stinky, gooey cheese from Burgundy with a rind washed in marc de Bourgogne, a local brandy. A little wooden box tries its best–mostly with futility, as I have noticed when transporting it on a crowded train–to trap the aromas that emit from these little 250g wheels. On the palate, the intense, earthy, barn-yardy ripeness can be lingering and dominating, almost too much to pair with wine. Which would you choose? Or is it…impossible?!?
Personally, the last thing I’d want with Epoisses is “some big, bad supersomething red wine.” In general, I find white wine and cheese produce successful, if underrated, pairings with cheese courses. Oh, and I’ve never had one of those apparent stoner moments with Epoisses that Sifton describes. Maybe his was a little too ripe?
Granted, I was in college backpacking through Europe at the time and I admit that having scarfed down platters of sushi in the interim, the herring now sounds intriguing. Now is the time to find out if it is: New Catch Holland Herring, a short-lived seasonal treat, arrives in NYC June 9th. The epicenter of these fresh, briefly cured fishes seems to be Russ & Daughters (but they are available at other restaurants throughout the city). Joshua Russ Tupper recommends the traditional method of enjoying the herrings: dredging the fillets in freshly chopped onion, holding them by the tail and devouring without utensils.
Mixologists in the city are suggesting spirits pairings for this delicacy. But certainly wine should be on the table (assuming it’s not eaten while standing up). Help the Dutch and those around the world able to try the herrings: Which would you choose? Or is it…impossible?!?
The image here is a reduced size image from a NY mag post on the topic.
Who would ever think about pairing wine with tzatziki? Why, the good folks at Trader Joe’s! (Or should I say, Trader Iosif, as is their wont.) They put it right there on the packaging–a platter of tzatziki and pita, a view of a bay, and some red wine…
Is that what you would go for pairing wine with this “creamy cucumber garlic dip”? Or is it…impossible?!? Hit the comments!
I recently met Doug Crowell, owner of Buttermilk Channel, a restaurant in Carroll Gardens, Brooklyn, that has an all-American wine list and emphasizes local food sources. He told me about an immensely popular dish on the menu: fried chicken and waffles.
I wondered how he pulls off this unlikely combination so I asked him to describe the preparation. He said that the chicken is soaked overnight in buttermilk, then floured and fried. The waffle batter is spiked with cheddar. The cole slaw is traditional; the sauce blends balsamic vinegar and maple syrup.
Sweet, savory, fat–the grand slam of flavor! Apparently so, given the popularity of the dish. As to the wine pairing, which way would you go for this dish? Or do all those flavors make it…impossible?!? Raise the degree of difficulty, if you so desire, by going with an American wine in honor of the spirit of their list.
All the chatter in the NY dining scene is about cheese made from breast milk. At Klee Brasserie, Chef Daniel Angerer blogged about making cheese from his own lactating wife, blogged about it, and the requests to try it came pouring in. So he started giving it away as a canapé with figs and Hungarian pepper. Sadly, the story doesn’t describe the flavor profile of the cheese (looks like a chevre ball). Nonetheless, for a wine pairing, the chef recommends…Riesling.
What do you think? Impossible?!?