My favorite dish at Thai restaurants is, hands down, Basil Eggplant. I really love any kind of dish that has eggplant in it. In my opinion, the lovely purple eggplant has a little bit of an image problem, which not in small part probably has to do with its name. I think the eggplant growers of America should get together and rename this tasty vegetable to what it's called in much of the rest of the world: the aubergine. Sounds so much better and more interesting already, doesn't it? And it already sells as number 100-F7 on the color wheel of your local paint store, so why not at the greengrocer's?
So the other day, I took the basic idea of Basil Eggplant and ran with it. First up, there were eggplant and basil of course. Instead of the small and slender Japanese eggplants and the Thai basil with the purple stems, I only had one big Italian eggplant and sweet basil to work with. Slightly different taste and texture, but no problem. I also added some stuff that I had in my fridge and that had to be used up, namely some shrimp and the rest of the garlic scapes. And since this was to be Thai inspired, I threw in some red curry paste, fish sauce, and soy sauce for good measure. It was pretty tasty, if I may say so myself.
Conventional wisdom of which wine to pair with Asian, slightly spicy foods always suggests Riesling or Gewürztraminer. Yada, yada, yada. I get it. Something slightly sweet or "off-dry". So... why not try a Moscato for a change? Maybe even a sparkling one!
I chose the Mionetto "IL" Moscato from the Veneto region in Italy. I bought the Mionetto because I am familiar with their "IL" Prosecco, which is one of my favorites. Both wines have a crown cap closure, which is sort of unusual for wines, and suggests that they should be consumed young.
The IL Moscato is a sparkling wine, but the bubbles are extremely light and soft. It has a wonderful mouthfeel that makes me think of cotton candy. It has aromas of Golden Delicious apple and apricots. It is pleasantly sweet, but not overwhelmingly so.
This moscato was a nice alternative to a Riesling or Gewürztraminer as a pairing wine with Asian food. The fact that it was sparkling actually gave the combination an extra kick, as it created an invigorating effervescence on the tongue right after the spicy flavors. Final verdict: an amazing combination.