Thursday, July 21, 2011

You be the Sommelier

On a summer Saturday morning last year I was browsing the vegetables at Bill Maxwell's amazing stand at the farmer's market. I came to a small bin of baby artichokes. So beautiful, I thought, but how on earth to use these things? My friend Albano, who owns a restaurant called Aliseo, came over and said hello. I asked him what he likes to do with baby artichokes.

"Oh it's easy," he said. "Peel off the outer leaves, trim the tops and the stems, slice them thin, and cook them in a pan with olive oil, rosemary, and mint. Put that on pasta - that's it."

Sounds reasonable. I've learned since then that you must either boil the artichokes before cooking them in the pan, or cook them for quite a while in the pan - no matter how much you trim them, they are woody. I don't mind this, in fact I like it, but if you're serving this to guests, it's something to consider.

Recently I made this dish for a few pals who came to dinner. I started with a bit of garlic, an anchovy fillet, and a little bit of dried red chili flakes. Into the pan went the sliced baby artichokes, salt, and I added some chopped rosemary as the artichokes were cooking. Must say, this didn't smell all that bad. Add some chopped mint and toss right before combining the artichokes with the pasta - I used straccetti pasta this time. Maybe a longer noodle like spaghetti would be better, actually.

So that's it, that's the dish, streccetti pasta with baby artichokes, herbs, and olive oil. You be the sommelier - what would you serve with this dish? Leave your thoughts in the comments and soon I'll tell you what we drank, and how it worked.

15 comments:

mengteck said...

Poulsard from Jura? :)

Anonymous said...

white Chateauneuf-du-pape?

Anonymous said...

Medium weight Gruner. Kamptal.

Ben K said...

Chablis -- I've had great success with recent vintages of Dauvissat's "La Forest." And the acidity and minerality should balance out the oils nicely...

michelecolline said...

Something a touch more exotic than a frascati...maybe something from Campania...or perhaps a Gavi from the north...please tell me you didn't drink a Loire Valley chenin blanc

45yquem said...

La Bota de Manzanilla No 8 Las Canas. I perfer to use a brown butter sauce with this presentation, and Abruzzo square pasta made on the wire.

Ith said...

Anything with taste, try Maule Sassaia for instance.Sherry would be very good as well or any other wine with a slight oxidation note. Go easy on the tannins.

Nicola said...

vouvray

Weston said...

Vermentino?

Cliff said...

Vatan, for the mint.

Jesse K. said...

I think a Falanghina would be very nice. Or maybe something from the Marches like a Verdicchio...

Anonymous said...

I would go with a Ligurian Pigato or a Vermentino from Corsica. The dish looks delicious!

Winey the Elder said...

arneis.

Jason A said...

In this heat I have been pairing sparkling chenin with everything - but I wouldn't with this dish. I am thinking more along the lines of Palari "Rosso del Soprano". It's light on the palate but it has this underlying earthiness that should pair well with the artichokes.

Anonymous said...

Tio Pepe en Rama!!