Asparagus can be a difficult food to pair with wine. It is one of the edible plants highest in phosphorus and mercaptan (a sulfur-containing organic compound), both of which can interact with wine to cause a tinny, metallic taste. However, this recipe also contains mushrooms, high in the glutamate called umami, a very delicious corrective to unpleasant tastes. Also, choosing wines that are high in acidity helps work against the difficulties with asparagus (or artichokes, broccoli or spinach, for that matter). Those are the sorts of red and white wines suggested to accompany this recipe.

Thinly slice 1 New York strip steak (8 ounces); marinate with 2 tablespoons each orange juice and soy sauce. Heat 1 tablespoon peanut oil in a wok. Add 1 tablespoon chili paste, 3 sliced green onions, 3 cloves garlic, minced, and 1 teaspoon minced ginger; stir-fry, 1 minute. Add beef and marinade; stir-fry until nearly cooked through, 3 minutes. Transfer beef to a plate. Add 1 tablespoon oil to wok; add 1 bunch asparagus, cut into 1 1/2-inch pieces. Stir-fry until crisp-tender, 4 minutes. Transfer to the plate. Add 8 ounces sliced mushrooms; stir-fry until browned, 4 minutes. Reduce heat to low; return all ingredients to the wok. Simmer, 1 minute. Makes: 2 servings
— Recipe by Bill Daley

— 2012 Gainey Vineyard Merlot, Santa Ynez Valley, Santa Barbara, California: Just delicious and highly aromatic, with tastes and savors of dark red fruits, tea leaves and cocoa; low alcohol and plump texture very much appeal. $18.
— 2013 L’Ecole 41 Semillon, Columbia Valley, Washington: Soft, plush and lengthy in flavor from barrel fermentation and lees stirring, but also with the tangy edge of 13 percent sauvignon blanc. $16.
— 2012 Francis Ford Coppola Winery Pinot Noir, Director’s Cut, Sonoma Coast, California: A very savory pinot, with the juicy texture and tastes of cooked mushrooms, marked with notes of herbs and earth. $17-$21.

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