Wednesday, June 16, 2010

weekend dinner party

Photo Courtesy of Serious Eats
The forecast for this weekend is looking more and more spectacular with each passing day. And to to that, may I just say, it's about damn time? A co-worker so kindly complimented me on my "tan" this morning to which I said with a look of utter shock, "What?! When was the last time it was sunny over the weekend?" She then followed that up with "So then where did you go away to?"

Let's try this again.

As for the inexplicable tan, I suppose that the lovely shade of lemon yellow top and bold turquoise necklace I happen to be sporting today, are particularly complimentary to my complexion. Kiira: 1. Count it.

Anyone still reading? So in anticipation of the sunshine this weekend, I'm dying to throw some salmon burgers on the grill. And nothing screams SUMMER at the top of its lungs like farm fresh corn. By grilling a few ears of sugary sweet corn, tinged with char, you've got the start of a ridiculously good crostini, perked up with fresh, aromatic basil.

grilled corn, basil, and goat cheese crostini
2007 Gunn Estate Unoaked Chardonnay

salmon burgers with avocado and lemon-chive sauce
orecchiette with radicchio and sweet orange vinaigrette
shaved fennel slaw
2007 Argyle Pinot Noir

limoncello granita

grilled corn, basil, and goat cheese crostini
serves 4 to 6
2 ears of corn, shucked and brushed lightly with oil and seasoned with salt
1/2 small red onion, finely diced
1/4 cup fresh basil, chopped
1/2 tbsp. olive oil
log of goat cheese
salt and pepper to taste
baguette cut into 1-inch thick slices

Grill the corn, turning occasionally until it's evenly charred on all sides, about 10 minutes. Remove and allow to cool then cut the kernels off the cobs.

In a medium-sized bowl, combine the corn, red onion, basil, and olive oil. Toss and season to taste.

Grill the baguette slices for just under a minute per side. While still warm, rub one side of each piece with a piece of garlic. Spread some goat cheese on each piece of baguette and top with a small spoonful of the corn mixture. Serve.

salmon burgers with lemon-chive sauce
serves 4

4 (6 oz.) skinless salmon fillets
1 tbsp. sesame seeds (optional)
3 tbsp. chopped fresh dill
lettuce, tomato, avocado, thinly sliced cucumbers* for toppings
4 kaiser rolls
lemon-chive aioli (recipe follows)

Add salmon fillets to the food processor and pulse until its a course grind to form the burgers. Transfer the fish to a bowl and add sesame seeds and dill. Mix and form into 4 patties. Drizzle both sides with olive oil.

Cook the salmon burgers on the grill (or grill pan) for about 3 minutes per side. Place burgers on kaiser rolls dressed with avocado, butter lettuce, tomato, and top with a dollop of lemon-chive sauce.

lemon-chive sauce
1/2 cup hellman's mayo (no substitutes allowed)
1/2 cup reduced fat sour cream
1/4 cup chives, chopped
1 lemon zested, juice from half
salt and pepper to taste

Combine all ingredients in a bowl. Taste for seasoning.
*I suspect some swedish cucumbers would be a ridiculously yummy addition up on top of these burgers as well. I encourage you to go that extra mile, if possible.

Shaved Fennel Slaw (halve the recipe)

Cork'd wine pairings are explained by Nate Scherotter:

"The appetizer of grilled corn with basil and goat cheese crostini is a good mix of light and heavy and needs a wine that can accentuate both aspects. Something with a little weight, but also some acidity to balance it out and make the grilled corn feel like the appetizer it is. Enter unoaked Chardonnay. The 2007 Gunn Estate Unoaked Chardonnay from New Zealand should satisfy these requirements very well. With good acidity and loads of tropical fruit it will bring out the appetizer's fresh flavors, especially in the Summer months that are upon us. This wine shows off its body by shedding the oak. Are we still talking about wine, here?

Traditionally, fish and white wine go together like peas and carrots. Exceptions and alternatives do exist though. After you nibble on your corn and proceed to the salmon burgers your palate may scream for something red. In this case, we have a perfectly safe pairing. Instead of Cali Pinot, its neighbor to the north, Oregon, makes some really interesting and food friendly Pinot Noir that the wine world has been taking very seriously the past few years. Try the 2007 Argyle Pinot Noir."

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