Friday, December 18, 2015

Celebrating with Crustaceans, Caviar Limes, and Champagne #winophiles

Welcome to the December event for The French Winophiles, a wine-swilling, food-loving group coordinated by Christy of Confessions of a Culinary Diva.

Clicking on the region will take you to my recipe post that includes the #winophiles round-up as well. So far, we've traveled - by tabletop and goblet - to the Loire Valley, Corsicathe SouthwestLanguedoc-Roussillon, Côtes du Rhône, and Bordeaux. Today we're headed to Champagne. Up and coming...

  • January 16 - Burgundy
  • February 20 - Alsace

This dish is actually from a dinner that happened in October; it was the opening course to our Moules Frites and Leave-the-Vampires-Alone Garlic Bread. But I waited to post it with the December #winophiles event because it was so utterly and deliciously champagne-worthy!

To Champagne and About Champagne...
To start: 'Champagne' refer to both a libation and a region in France.

A quick primer: Champagne can only be grown in the Champagne region of France. It is made with Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier grapes. It must be made in the Méthode Traditionelle that requires the wine’s secondary fermentation take place in the same bottle from which it will be served.

What the Winophiles Are Pouring...

In the Flute...
The bottle I selected was Champagne Charles de Cazanove, a blend of 60% Pinot Noir, 30% Pinot Meunier, and 10% Chardonnay.

The bubbles reminded me of tiny pearls on a background of silk. So luscious and lively. While it has a fruity nose, it's not at all sweet.

On the Plate...
Monterey Bay Spot Prawns have a very short season. Very. Short. Maybe two weeks. Maybe. And, when we do see them in the markets, they have usually be caught that morning and are sold-out by the evening. Their shells are a pale orange that almost seem luminescent. And their snow-white flesh is as firm and sweet as lobster.

I wanted to prepare them simply in a ways that would allow their sweetness to shine and complement the bubbly.


  • 5 T olive oil, divided into 3 T and 2 T
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried crushed red pepper flakes
  • 3 T bubbly (I didn't use the champagne I was pouring because I wanted to savor that!)
  • 2 T chopped green onions
  • freshly ground salt
  • freshly ground pepper
  • 2 T freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 3 T fresh parsley, chopped
  • caviar limes for serving (click for an intro to caviar limes)

Using kitchen shears, butterfly shrimp from tail to base of head, leaving peel and head intact. Devein and set aside.

Heat 3 T olive oil in a small saucepan over medium heat. Add garlic and pepper flakes. cook till aromatic, approximately 1 minute. Transfer to a medium bowl. Stir in champagne and 1 T chopped green onions. Season with salt and pepper. Add prawns and toss to coat. Marinate, at room temperature, tossing occasionally, for 30 minutes.

On a grill pan, or an outside grill, cook prawns, brushing with marinade from bowl, until pink and opaque in center, approximately 2 minutes per side.

Transfer to serving platter. Drizzle with lemon juice and remaining 2 T olive oil. Sprinkle with fresh parsley and more salt and pepper, if desired. Serve with slices caviar limes on the side.

To eat, peel and squeeze caviar limes on the top.


  1. Great pairing. I have got to find those limes! Cheers.

  2. Phenomenal pairing - wish I could locate those crustaceans and finger limes. This would make the spousal unit incredibly happy!


  3. As usual you have me drooling over here Cam! I too must find these caviar limes. Your dish and the pairing looks awesome. Merry Christmas to you and yours!