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Feature Story

Bubbles & Bowls: Grapes, Papaya, Lentils & Chirashi

by Caitlin Griffith
July 19, 2016

Austrian Rosé & Roasted Grapes

I’ve long since forgotten the source of this juicy trick: Toss grapes with olive oil, or red pepper, or nothing at all) and roast at high heat until they turn into shriveled orbs, juice running every which way. I do this in the morning, and keep them in the fridge to add to any number of bowls, whether filled with granola, grains or ice cream. Sometimes I’ll roast caulifl ower fl orets at the same time, then, at dinner, toss them together in a bowl and top with salty crumbled clothbound cheddar (Cabot is easy to fi nd and excellent, Flory’s Truckle is delightful, too.) Add a handful of salty marcona almonds and you can skip the seasoning. To drink, I like to play o the red fruit flavors of a rosé; at $15, the biodynamic Biokult 2015 Rosé Secco from Austria is hard to beat.

Prosecco & Green Papaya

The beauty of a Thai green-papaya salad is that it’s extremely flexible; even in Bangkok, the street hawkers will ask your opinion on contents and seasoning. If you can’t find green papaya, kohlrabi or cabbage work well, too. Start by smashing a clove of garlic in the bottom of a mortar along with a pinch of salt, another of sugar, some chopped bird pepper and a spoonful of roasted peanuts. Add a couple handfuls of shredded papaya (or any crisp vegetable) and a spoonful of dried shrimp (or small, salted blue crabs if you can find them), some lime quarters and several dashes of fish sauce, then pound it all together until the vegetables are bruised and everything is well mixed. Adjust the seasoning to your liking and add some extra vegetables if you like—cherry tomatoes and marble-sized Thai eggplant are traditional, but whatever’s in season works. With aside of sticky rice and a cold glass of bubbly, you’ve got dinner. If it’s particularly spicy, a fruity sparkler is the way to go—a Prosecco like Ca’ dei Zago’s Col Fondo or Bisol’s Crede work well.

Lambrusco & Lentils

There’s something about the deep, lively flavors of Lambrusco that combines especially well with an earthy bowl of lentils. Add extra texture with a handful of chickpeas crisped in a pan, and brightness with rough-chopped parsley or any fresh green. Top with toasted walnuts and cheese—chèvre and feta play well, but so do alpines and granas—and then it’s rich enough to stand up to a black-fruited, dry Lambrusco like Fattoria Moretto’s Lambrusco Grasparossa di Castelvetro Monovitigno, an old-vine cuvée.

Moschofilero & Chirashi

Our NYC staff is lucky enough to work in the heart of Korea town, with Japanese and Chinese restaurants at its fringes, so chirashi is on constant rotation when we order in. It’s easy to re-create at home, too: Cook up some sushi rice and season with rice vinegar and mirin; while it cools, gather your toppings: julienned carrots, chopped umeboshi, sautéed mushrooms, crispy bean sprouts, dried or pickled seaweed, fresh shiso leaves, soft- or hard-boiled eggs, wilted greens, or whatever you have in the fridge. Array them over the rice artfully (or not) and add some protein, whether sushi-grade fish or firm tofu, and season with pickled ginger, wasabi, sesame seeds, ponzu and soy sauce. While the dish offers lots of different flavors and textures, it feels so fresh and clean that it needs a light hand in the wine department—maybe a sparkling moschofilero from Greece.

illustrations by Amy Schimler-Safford

This feature appears in the print edition of August 2016.
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