Dry (and Dried). Amarone, Ancho Chile Sauce; Prune restaurant
GourmetGrrl.com: Food with ‘tude
March 23, 2005
Ever notice how dry everything is in the winter? Dry skin, dry air – it’s enough to make you feel like a cactus. We’ve got dry (and dried) edibles that will leave you dreaming of April showers.
GourmetGrrl, aka Laura Holmes
Grrl with Corkscrew
Dried Grapes. Wine from raisins? What sets the red wine Amarone [Ah-ma-ROE-nay] apart from other reds is the way it’s produced: the grapes are set out on mats to dry for four to five months until they become raisins, concentrating both the sugars and flavors. “Amarone” means “strongly bitter” in Italian but the resulting wine is anything but: dry, thick, and rich, with alcohol levels around 15 percent and distinctive port-like flavors. This luscious red wine comes only from the northern Italian region of Veneto.
Try a glass of Amarone with stews, grilled meats, or aged cheeses (especially aged Italian cheeses like Asiago and Pecorino Romano) and you’ll be crying “Mamma Mia” before you know it.
Ca’ del Monte, La Casetta, Masi, Michelle Castellani are some of the best Amarone producers, and Cantina Sociale Valpolicella, Lamberti, and Santi are good bets if you’re pinching pennies.
Dry heat. Anyone can point out a plain ol’ jalapeno, but when you want something more intense, turn to dried chiles – our fave is the dark red ancho.
Ancho chiles are dried poblano peppers, the most common dried chile in Mexico. Medium-hot anchos are the sweetest of all the dried chiles and are used in Mexican cooking to add flavor, heat, and color to sauces and moles. Look for them in the international food section of your market.
ANCHO CHILE SAUCE
Serve this chile sauce over chicken or pork for a little mid-week kick in the pants.
3 ancho chiles
1 1/2 cups chicken stock
1 large clove garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
A pinch of salt
1. Using a pair of tongs, roast the chiles over the flame of a gas burner until soft and pliable, about 3 minutes. Allow them to cool and then remove stems and seeds.
2. Place the chiles and all remaining ingredients in a saucepan and simmer for 15 minutes. Let cool for 2 minutes.
3. Pour in a blender or food processor and puree. Serve warm.
Prune Don’t worry – you won’t find any prunes on this menu, but Chef Gabrielle Hamilton is dishing out some divine dishes at this Lower East Side joint. Both brunch and dinner are delectable. Brunch is worth getting out of bed for: the house- made vodka appears in nine different Bloody Mary’s, all served with beer chasers. Skip the oj and order Prune juice, a fresh-squeezed blend of Meyer lemon, orange, lime, and grapefruit juices, instead. Peppery spaghetti carbonara and a Monte Cristo sandwich with a side of fried eggs will cure any hangover, and those Atkins-lovers among you can try grilled lamb sausages with Malpeque oysters.
Dinner is just as interesting and a lot more romantic. You’ll be wowed by the pork chop with pork belly, whole grilled fish, and grilled head-on shrimp with anchovy butter. Cozy with a French-antique feel, Prune is already a standby for some savvy foodies so be prepared to wait on the sidewalk for brunch, but your whining will be cured with one Bloody Mary.
54 E. 1st St. (between 1st and 2nd Aves.), New York City
Reservations for dinner only