Asparagus and Wine. Partners?

| April 22, 2014 | 0 Comments

bacon warpped asparagus


Spring is finally here. And asparagus are now coming into season. The old wine adage states that asparagus do not work with wine. Hogwash! Asparagus, when incorporated in a dish with other ingredients, work extremely well with specific wines.

With weather warming white wines are more desirable as well and they happen to complement dishes with asparagus as an ingredient.

Sauvignon Blanc is crisp and refreshing with citrus tones and big acidity. This acidity nicely offsets saltiness. This wine’s acidity nicely contrasts with grilled asparagus wrapped in prosciutto as an hors d’oeuvre. Wrap around the centre of each cleaned asparagus a piece of shaved prosciutto.   Do several wrapped asparagus and then set them tightly in a barbecue vegetable rack.   Grill the asparagus until the prosciutto is crispy. Serve hot with a chilled glass of Sauvignon Blanc.   Be sure to buy a couple of bundles of local asparagus as this hors d’oeuvre is highly addictive when served with this wine.  Pair this easy hors d’oeuvre with an Ontario Sauvignon Blanc.

This simple recipe can also be served as a side dish, using bacon instead of prosciutto.  Wrap several asparagus in bacon and grill or roast.  The same wine pairing rule applies.  The saltiness of bacon complements a white wine with crisp acidity like Sauvignon Blanc.

If you choose to serve this same Sauvignon Blanc throughout the main course and highlight fresh, local asparagus in the side dish, try Quinoa with fresh asparagus in a lemon olive oil dressing.

Chardonnay can be quite lovely when partnered with barley risotto with asparagus and hazelnuts. Buy 1 ½ pounds of local asparagus. Cut top third of each asparagus stalk diagonally into 1/2-inch-thick slices, reserving tips and slices together. Coarsely chopped the remainder. Steam asparagus until tender, then add to a food processor or blender. Add 2 cloves of fresh garlic. Puree. Set aside. Then steam the asparagus tips and slices for about 3 minutes. Remove them with a slotted spoon and rinse under cool water. Set aside. Bring 4 cups of water to a boil. Meanwhile, in a saucepan, cook 1 medium onion, finely chopped with black pepper and 1/4 teaspoon salt in 3 tablespoons of olive oil until softened, about 7 minutes.   Add 1 ¼ cups of barley to the onion and cook, stirring, 1 minute. Add ½ cup of white wine and boil, stirring, until liquid is absorbed, about 1 minute. Add 4 cups water. Bring mixture back to a boil. Cover and simmer for about 35 minutes.   Stir occasionally.

When barley is cooked, stir in asparagus-garlic purée. Fold in asparagus tips and slices. Add more boiling water to get right risotto consistency. Let mixture cook through until hot. Add freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano as needed. Serve hot sprinkled with more cheese, fresh lemon zest and toasted hazelnuts. (You can toast the hazelnuts in a dry fry pan and let cool.)

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About the Author ()

Shari Darling is an award-winning and best-selling author and columnist, educator and speaker specializing in wine, food and the partnership between them.

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