by Tina Swithin, Travel Paso Robles Alliance
“All four elements were happening in equal measure – the cuisine, the wine, the service, and the overall ambience. It taught me that dining could happen at a spiritual level” – Charles Trotter.
The 2011 Sunset Savor the Central Coast embodied all of these things: fabulous wine, cuisine, people and ambiance. I am left reminiscing about the delicious food and phenomenal wine that I was lucky enough to partake in. I am also left remembering the new friends that I made through this event. One such person was Justin Kahler, Winemaker at JK Wine Company who introduced me to a fabulous Viognier which I am excited to share with you.
Traditionally, when “pairing”, you select a dish and then choose a wine to compliment the dish. Sometimes, I like to do things unconventionally. I’m going to go out on a limb and be completely honest: I don’t like to follow rules. Wine should be fun and food & wine pairing should be a delightful experience. It only took a few “tastes” of Justin Kahler’s 2009 Viognier for me to select it as the October Pairings in Paso. You can imagine my delight when Justin presented me with a recipe which turned out to be a dish from one of my favorite Paso Robles restaurants: Artisan. Serendipity at its most delicious.
My excitement was compounded when I was able to turn this recipe into an opportunity to “treasure hunt” at my favorite places in and around Paso Robles- Jack Creek Farms for delectable cherry tomatoes, Pier 46 Seafood Market for huge, juicy shrimp and We Olive for a truly fabulous citrus olive oil. Good food, good wine and checking in with the friendliest people in Paso Robles: priceless! Without further ado, let’s get cooking!
Artisan’s Crispy Shrimp with Cherry Tomato, Purslane and Lemon
8 large shrimp
1 cup homemade beer batter or tempura batter
1 pint cherry tomatoes (halved)
2 bunches purslane (picked and cleaned)
1 cup citrus olive oil
1/3 cup sherry wine vinegar
2 tsp mustard
1 lemon (zested)
Grey sea salt and chili pepper
Oil for frying
Peel and de-vein the prawns and reserve.
Heat oil in a large pot to 330 degrees F.
Dip the prawns into the batter and swirl lightly in the oil to achieve a lighter texture.
Fry the shrimp in two batches for about 3 minutes each and drain on a paper bag or a drain tray.
Place the cherry tomatoes, purslane, lemon zest and ¼ cup of the vinaigrette in a large bowl and toss to combine. Season with salt and pepper and distribute amongst 4 plates, reserving a little bit for garnish.
Slice the prawns in ½ lengthwise and arrange 2 halves on each of the plates. Garnish with the remaining salad and serve.
JK Wine Company 2009 Viognier: This 100 % Viognier is bursting with character which is guaranteed to delight your nose and palate. Tropical aromas and flavors of pineapple, citrus, lychee and melon mingle with coconut, vanilla and barrel spice to create an enjoyable sensory experience. A rich mouth feel that expands on the sensorial experience, flavors of orange zest and melons are balanced by clean mineral notes that finish with a creaminess that entices your palate for more.