Boudin balls and Brunello (and a Ringo Starr anecdote)

In case yall don’t know what boudin balls are, yall don’t know what you are missing!

Boudin balls are a specialty of Cajun cuisine: you form balls using uncased boudin (pork and rice sausage, commonly found in Louisiana and East Texas where Tracie P grew up) and then you dredge in flour and cornmeal and then you fry.

For Easter this year, Pam brought steaming-hot, freshly fried boudin balls over to Mrs. and Rev. B’s house (she lives just a few blocks away). I paired with an 06 Brunello di Montalcino by Il Poggione that I’d been saving for the occasion. I wrote about it over at the Houston Press, the Houston alternative rag, where I am now a regular contributor on wine. Here’s the link. Fun stuff…

Speaking of Easter, what Easter celebration would it be without memaw B’s deviled eggs?! Man, they’d be worth the drive to from Austin to Orange alone! Love that stuff! Also excellent with the Brunello, where the acidity and tannin the wine cut through the fattiness of the filling like a Bowie knife!

Speaking of balls, I am reminded of something I once heard Ringo Starr say. It was back in 2003 and the French band was asked to open for Ringo at the now defunct Bottom Line in the Village. (You can imagine how thrilled I was to get to do this! It was an amazing experience. Nora Jones — at the height of her fame — also appeared with Ringo that night. Incredible!)

After sound check, Ringo was totally cool and signed autographs for all the folks who managed to make it in through the extremely tight-security (I got to be there because we sound checked after Ringo’s band). At one point, this dude brought him a baseball and asked him to sign it. To which Ringo said, “I’ll sign just about anything, but I don’t sign balls.”

So, there you go…

Cajun boudin balls and Dolcetto (how’s that for fusion?)

Pam and Melvin Croaker’s fried corn-meal-dusted boudin balls paired superbly with an 2007 Dolcetto d’Alba Monte Aribaldo by Marchesi di Gresy at yesterday’s Christmas day supper. The weather’s been cold and windy here: Dolcetto is such a great wintry grape, with its rich, meaty mouthfeel and nervy acidity pillared by a fulcrum of gentle tannin and meaty flavor. At less than $20 a bottle, the single-vineyard Dolcetto Monte Aribaldo has been my 2009 holiday season standby wine.

Sadly, a bottle of 2004 Rosso di Montepulciano by Sanguineto was corked. It wasn’t corked in the tainted with a corky or wet dog smell, the way “viciously” corked wine can smell (as BrooklynGuy likes to say when he’s disappointed with a much-anticipated bottle like this one). It was just that the fruit had died: as BrooklynGuy might say, it wasn’t “terrible, just dull.”

Boudin balls are made from the filling of boudin sausage — pork, pork liver, rice and Cajun seasoning (spicy). They can be rolled in breadcrumbs or flour but Pam and Melvin used a cornmeal coating (also traditional) for these tasty delights. Soooooo good…

In other news…

Yet another dream came true this Christmas yesterday when Tracie B and I got the 3-quart All-Clad sauté pan we’d been hoping for.

Thanks Mrs. and Rev. B!