Even the most stubbornly unreconstructed diner-out sometimes cooks at home. This experience traces its heritage back to my early roots as a cooking weed, when I could actually take a reasonable stab at recreating dishes I ate in favorite restaurants—before the days of theme-park presentations, frequently fun but just as frequently frustrating… The model here was Ralf Kuettel’s tomato soup of two seasons back from Trestle on Tenth, with its sweet corn, shrimp and basil. Which I deconstructed and then reconstituted into the main course, one lazy summer afternoon when Lingenfelder came to lunch.
Shrimp with Sweet Corn and Tomato over Penne
1 jalapeño pepper
1 habanero pepper
(rubber gloves to wear while chopping them)
2 large cloves garlic
1 good sized chunk of fresh ginger (figure about twice the size of the 2 cloves garlic)
1 big fresh tomato
2 ears cooked NJ sweet corn
1 bunch fresh basil
1 ripe avocado
1 dozen fresh shrimp, largest available
1. pour one Bombay Gibson (not too dry) into the cook.
2. Peel and de-vein shrimp, pausing momentarily to meditate upon why Mr Shrimp is not considered kosher—at this moment not difficult…
3. Put on gloves and chop the two peppers as finely as your patience will permit. Wonder why the hell jalapeño is spellt with J and habanero with H…
4. Remove the gloves and chop garlic and ginger—two large cloves, and twice as much mass of the zenzero.
5. Shave the cooked sweet corn off the cob.
6. Halve and pit the avocado, score the flesh inside the rind.
7. Slice the tomato somewhat finely, then halve the slices.
8. Pluck plenty of basil leaves from stem, coarsely chop. Figure amount to your taste.
9. Boil the penne—in this case preferably non-rigate…
10. Heat olive oil + balsamic vinegar in pan or wok. Good & hot.
11. When the pasta has about 3 minutes left to go, toss the ginger and garlic and chopped hot peppers into the hot pan. Stir.
12. After about one more minute, add shrimp. 60 seconds later turn with tongs.
13. While pasta drains, turn heat under shrimp off. Add chopped basil and scoop out avocado into pan.
14. Add penne and toss vigorously to mix.
15. At table, add pinches of white sea salt to taste.
DRINK THIS WITH IT:
…and now the best part is the wine! One of the things that all three of the native Burgenland reds have in common is their ability to cope with complexities and degrees of spiciness that are rather remote from their German-West-Hungarian heritage. For out-and-out incendiaries, Zweigelt will fare the best, while Blaufränkisch makes itself quite at home among flavors of the umami persuasion. St Laurent articulates itself in this context as a sort-of fire-resistant Pinot Noir…
So what about a wine with all three grapes in it? One that’s pink rather than red, and is happy coming out of the fridge at around 45°F?
We say rosé here in America, but as winegrower Josef “Pepi” Umathum reasons, why stick a French tag on the wine, when there’s already a perfectly good German word that means the same thing? Pink. At this point, hat goes off to Stephen Bitterolf at Crush Wine Co. in NYC, who was the only person who remarked that I had indeed worn a pink shirt (my usual Brooks Bros Oxford) to pour Umathum Rosa at their annual War of the Rosés tasting on Thursday…
This vibrantly colored wine is created from saignee juice, Blaufränkisch along with Zweigelt and St Laurent. A deep and dark pink bright raspberry color, the nose screams ripe raspberries with delicate strawberry overtones. The expansive flavor on the palate combines the rich and spicy, accessible fruit of the Zweigelt with the somewhat angular complexity of the Blaufränkisch and the spicy, earthy notes of the St Laurent. The wine finishes with an agreeable acidity and delicate tannins.
And really quite remarkable, the way this 2011 Umathum Rosa(click link to buy) wraps its loving arms around the sweet elements of corn and shrimp, the acidity of the tomato and the rather zinging spiciness of the mixed chillies… Sophisticated yes, but does not forget to be summery fun at the same time!