July 24, 2006

Combinations: Prawns and Fresh Herb Dip

By Andrew Barrow In Uncategorized
Araldica Madonnia Gavi

There is nothing more vibrant than fresh mint; coupled with a little parsley, a little olive oil, lemon juice and zest and a splash of white vinegar it adds so much piquance to a simple dish that you would think it took hours to prepare. Summer personified. Beau is hosting this months little Combinations wine and food matching event. He has selected, not another snazzy shirt, but a bunch of herbs as the basis of this months pick-your-own recipe.

Is there anywhere in the northern hemisphere that is not bloody hot at the moment? It is humid in South Oxfordshire, barbecues are out, the wine is flowing freely to mellow the heat-frayed nerves, and, at Scribblings Towers, the prawns are skewered and thrown on the griddle pan, ’cause we don’t have a barbecue. Combining a handful of mint and fresh parsley (plus olive oil, lemon juice and zest and a balancing slug of white wine vinegar) as a dip for a few prawns is about as summery as you can get – fresh, vibrant and punchy. It needs a wine to match. The Gavi, selected as the sauce was inspired by Carluccio’s Italian Crayfish in A Green Sauce (from the August issue of Olive), was as crisp and lemony as you could wish. Coupled with a mineral finish and crisp acidity you would have thought it would have countered the oil, lemon and wine vinegar in the dip, but it lacked body and ended as little more than a foil for the food. Not a bad thing if you are coming from the food angle but for a wino a little disappointing.

Wine Tasting Note: Araldica Madonnina Gavi, 2005, Gavi, Italy.
Waitrose £6.99.
Cortesse is the grape in Gavi, and to me is always slightly overpriced and under flavoured. This is nice enough – mineraly, citrus and lemony and certianly clean flavoured but lacks a little weight and depth. A celebrated ‘fish’ wine is Gavi, perhaps the punchy herb flavours were too much for this slightly bland rendition.
Scribblings Rating – 82/100

What is it with Italian white wines? Why are they so unexciting?More photographs on Flickr.

Prawns and Herb Dip

As mentioned the dip is from the August issue of Olive, a Carluccio special. I found it slightly oily and would perhaps reduce the olive oil by a half. The flavours are punchy and vibrant though and listed to accompany crayfish. Of course crayfish are not found at Waitrose, and with Machins closed on a Monday, skewered large prawns, juicy and glistening, were substituted.

Carluccio’s Green Sauce

  • 3 tbsp fresh mint, chopped
  • 4 tbsp flat leaf parsley, chopped
  • 1/2 lemon juiced and zested
  • 1/2 clove garlic, crushed
  • 1 tbsp white wine vinegar
  • 6 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • lemon wedges to serve

Put the ingredients in a mortar and pound together, gradually adding the oil to make a textured sauce.

  1. Simonetta July 25, 2006

    The grape is “cortese” (just one s). Don’t beat your breast too much. No mistake could be easier to make for an English speaking person. I do know something about it, believe me. I’m getting used to having my last name misspelt as Tacusso (the double cc and one solitary s of the correct version must be a weird combination in English). I now feel a new affiliation with the gentle cortese grape variety.
    PS Great blog, by the way.

  2. ann July 31, 2006

    Yum! The shrimp sounds delicious. I’ll have to give the sauce a try soon.
    As for the wine, that’s disappointing. I used to think Italian whites were blah as well, and avoided them like the plague when ordering wine at a restaurant, but I recently found a producer that changed my opinion… Alois Lageder in the Alto-Adige. One of my new favorite wineries. I’ve only tried a few so far, but the Pinot Bianco was good and the Lowengang Chardonnay was terrific (fruity with a bit of vanilla) with the pasta and grilled chicken we served at a picnic a couple of months ago!


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