A good choice could be an intensely aromatic white wine, just as Cantina Rauscedo's Traminer Aromatico Friuli Grave DOC (vintage 2018). And it'd be better paired with an equally powerfully-tasting dish like the one chef Jeffrey She created for it: his recipe is included in the 2020 edition of “Zhong Can Yi Jiu”, the culinary guide from the project “Chinese Cuisines meet Italian Wines”. So here we go with our fourth chapter into our feature story, especially devoted to this extraordinary journey through Asian flavours and Italian wines.
Crab, vinegar caviar and Traminer: a treat for demanding palates
Combining pork lard with crab meat isn't a feat for beginners. The lard's strong taste could overcome the dish as a whole, if not balanced in the right way. But Jeffrey She is a highly experienced and skilled chef who knows his ways, and can master apparently easy techniques which really makes the difference, when coming to an impeccable plating.
His recipe for Rauscedo's Traminer, the Creative Crispy Fried Crab (click here for full ingredients' list and method) include the preparation of decorative caviar drops made with typical Chinese seasonings, like soy sauce and rice vinegar, also adding a classical Italian balsamic vinegar (plus sugar and gelatine slices). It seems like an effortless thing to do if you look up his recipe, but hey... try it at home and you'll tell us!
A very unusual choice for Italian tastes, but very common in China and other parts of Asia, are water chestnuts, chopped and seasoned with fresh ginger and Kangle vinegar and stirred along with the crab meat. Kangle, or black vinegar is also a widely used ingredient in Chinese cuisines and is made with rice, wheat, millet or sorghum.
The Traminer's fruity bouquet really enhance this dish's richness, matching perfectly with the ginger and bringing a dry vibe in contrast with the pork's oily feeling: a flawless, relishing harmony on your tongue.
Jeffrey She, the King of Shangai
He's worked in five-star hotels for ten years and is now Executive Chef at the prestigious Intercontinental Ruijin Shanghai. Jeffrey She was born in Shangai and flaunts a high level carrier. As a kitchen management, food safety and cost control expert, he has been member of the state council for Asia Pacific for Marriott International, Greater China Central and Western Region.
He's been “visiting professor” at Shandong College of Tourism and Hospitality and was involved in the production of over 100 cooking shows.
About the 2020 “Zhong Can Yi Jiu” guide
It's the second edition of the guide, first published last year, which is part of a very interesting, wider project called “Chinese Cuisines meet Italian Wines”.
Promoted by the Italian Wine Bank and produced by The I Factor (organizers of the Italian Cuisine and Wines World Summits and of the Italian Wine List Awards), the program involves 24 talented Chinese chefs from Beijing and Shanghai and is implemented thanks to a collaboration with the Italian Sommelier Association's Club China and the Hong Kong Chinese Culinary Institute.