Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Oh, Yeah!

As promised, I am continuing my month of sangria with another off-beat take on the summer cooler.

This time I'm getting closer to the more literal translation of sangria, which comes from the root word "blood", but this time I only get as close as a rose'.

I'm actually a fan of rose'. It gets a bad rap. It's a white wine that has sat on the grape skins long enough to acquire a little color and maybe a bit of flavor. It is usually served chilled as a refreshing summer beverage, which lead me to this variation.

I macerated sliced, fresh strawberries in simple syrup and aged brandy for several hours before combining it with a crisp rose' from our wine chiller.

Looks a lot like the Kool Aid Man, doesn't it??

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I'm really enjoying creating interesting cold dishes right now. Not only is there a plethora of fantastic ingredients to choose from that warrant cold preparations, but I've found that people lean towards lighter fare in the summer months. Who am I to argue?

I have been working on this idea for a while now where I could cure salmon a pair it with a fresh melon salad, just like the classic prosciutto pairing.

I wanted to create an interesting cure for the salmon, so I juiced fresh apricots to use in place of sugar in a typical gravelax recipe along with a touch of coriander seeds. I wrapped the fillets and let sit over the weekend to allow all of the subtle flavors to absorb.

Though cantelope is the most common combination with prosciutto, I felt that it wasn't necessary to chose just one melon, and with the addition of honeydew I would not only get a new color but added texture as well. I tossed in a pinch of fresh pea shoots for a touch of summer freshness and chopped chervil for the great way that its licorice flavor favors the sweet melon as well.

With the salt in the salmon cure and the juice in the melon I really didn't need a "dressing" per se, but I wanted something to finish the dish - to tie it all together. So, over the last few weeks I have been steeping dried mission figs in aged balsamic vinegar until their flavors mingled, giving a sauce that has body, depth and complexity.

On a final note, we are hosting our third year at Farestart's Guest Chefs on the Waterfront tomorrow, so if you're looking for me, I'll be on Pier 66 ;).

With Love,