Strong, triples and strong goldens have very delicate flavors—kind of like Karloff’s Frankenstein and that flower. Except instead of accidentally killing you (although they’ve been known to injure some), these beers will use their highly carbonated nature for good, especially when paired with oily fish, creamy pastas, and soft, mouth-coating cheeses.
Pairing Thoughts …
Besides their carbonated gift of cutting through fat, triples and strong goldens can have considerable herb and fruit notes, which will marry many of the preparations of these foods. Think pasta with pesto sauce or broiled salmon with a squeeze of lime. These beers can also be great with highly acidic foods such as shrimp cocktail, and they go great with pork sausages and many cheeses. They’re also oddly well paired with asparagus. Go figure.
Spicy Thai Chicken, Basil and Asparagus
• 1 lb. boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1” slices
• 1 tbsp. cornstarch
• 1 tbsp. oyster sauce
• 3 tbsp. peanut oil
• 2 large shallots, sliced as thinly as you can manage
• 3-5 Thai bird chiles sliced thinly on the diagonal
• zest of one lime (If you can get fresh kaffir lime leaves, 3 of them cut chiffonade are best)
• 8 cloves garlic minced
• fish sauce to taste
• 1/2 pound pencil thin or thinner asparagus, cut into 1 1/2″ long pieces
• 2 cups basil leaves, firmly packed into the measure
• 2 tbsp. oyster sauce, or to taste
• juice of one small lime
• 1/3 cup unsalted chicken broth or stock
1. Toss cut chicken with cornstarch and oyster sauce.
2. Heat oil in wok until smoking. Add shallots, chiles and lime zest, and cook until the shallots begin to brown. Add garlic and cook until fragrant.
3. Add chicken, and push into a single layer and allow to cook without stirring for about one minute, or until chicken begins to brown. Stir, and then stir constantly, cooking until chicken is nearly all white, with only a bit of pink showing.
4. Add some fish sauce, and let it cook down, then add asparagus and cook for one minute, stirring madly. Add the basil leaves and stir for another minute, allowing them to wilt. Add a dash more fish sauce, a dollop of oyster sauce, and lime juice. Boil until sauce cooks down (this takes about thirty-45 seconds, really).
5. Add broth or stock and cook just until sauce is barely thickened by reduction, barely a minute. The basil should be wilted, the chicken glazed with a bit of browning but mostly white and tender, and the asparagus crunchy-tender. Serve over steamed jasmine rice.