In place of our wine product, New Jersey Countryside’s wine columnist Ernest Jaeger presents a wine value under $15 that he discovered by reading shelve tags, speaking with wine professionals and researching wine publications. This month’s selection: Merum Monastrell 2006, Jumilla, Spain
Cool dishes for summer favorites
Chef David Burke, a native New Jerseyan and owner of David Burke Fromagerie in Rumson, puts his creative, vibrant spin on corn, peaches and tomatoes.
Read on for the following recipes:
Grilled Stone Fruit Kebabs
with Vanilla Raspberry Parfaits
Peaches, plums and nectarines are all known as “stone fruits” because of the hard pit in the center. This recipe works best if the fruit is firm.
4 cups sugar, plus additional sugar for dusting
3/4 cup water
1 tsp. black peppercorns
1/2 tsp. fresh mint, chopped
1/2 tsp. rosemary, chopped
Zest of 1 lemon
1/2 cup crushed ice
2 Jersey plums, cut into 8 wedges
2 Jersey peaches, cut into 8 wedges
2 pints raspberries
2 pints vanilla ice cream
1/2 cup slivered almonds, toasted (see note)
4 mint tips
1 Combine 2 cups sugar, water and peppercorns in a stockpot or Dutch oven. Stir over high heat until sugar is dissolved.
2 Add fresh mint, rosemary, lemon zest and ice. Stir, and then remove from source of heat.
3 Add plums and peaches to slightly cooled liquid and allow fruit to macerate in the syrup no less than an hour or no longer than overnight.
4 Meanwhile, sauté raspberries and the remaining 2 cups of sugar over medium-low heat until sugar dissolves and berries break. Set aside to cool.
5 Soften ice cream in refrigerator for 5 minutes. Layer ice cream, raspberries and almonds in a tall parfait glass or champagne flute. Freeze.
6 Prepare the grill for high heat.
7 Drain plums and peaches, reserving syrup; pat dry with a towel.
8 Alternating plums and peaches, line up 8 wedges on a cutting board and run skewer through so that one side will be flat for grilling. Dust this side lightly with sugar and transfer to a hot grill.
9 Brush the back with the macerating syrup. After about 3 minutes, rotate 90 degrees for cross marks. Cook for another 3 minutes, brushing occasionally, then rest on a cooling rack or plate (if serving warm) or chill, with the side showing cross marks facing up.
10 Serve kebabs, either warm or chilled, with a cherry on the tip of the skewer accompanied by frozen parfaits garnished with a mint tip.
Yield: 4 servings.
Note: To toast almonds, spread the nuts in one layer on an ungreased cookie sheet in a 350-degree oven. Bake for 10 to 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until golden.
6 ears Jersey corn
2 tbsp. butter
1/2 onion, diced
1/2 stalk celery, diced
2 bacon strips, cubed
1 qt. chicken stock, your own or low-sodium chicken broth from supermarket
1 to 2 small potatoes, cubed
1/2 stick (4 tbsp.) butter or 1 cup half-and-half
Salt and pepper to taste
1 tbsp. fresh tarragon
1 tsp. cayenne or chili pepper (or to taste)
1/2 lb. jumbo lump crabmeat or 1 lb. cooked and shelled shrimp
Zest of 1 lemon
1 tsp. chives, chopped, or fresh tomato, chopped
1 Shuck 6 ears of corn. Slice kernels from cob by making lengthwise cuts; set kernels aside. Cut cobs in half.
2 Melt butter over medium heat in a large stockpot or Dutch oven. When butter begins to sizzle, add onion, celery and bacon. When vegetables are softened and bacon is crisp, add chicken stock, cobs and potatoes. Increase heat to medium-high and bring to a boil. Stir, lower heat to medium, and let simmer for 15 minutes.
3 Reserve 1 cup kernels and set aside; add remainder to stockpot. Simmer for 30 minutes. Remove corncobs with tongs.
4 Strain liquid. Set aside.
5 Place remaining pan contents in a blender and process (this may need to be done in small batches depending on the size of your blender). Return mixture to stockpot. Add strained liquid. Whisk in 1/2 stick of room temperature butter or half-and-half.
6 Cook over medium heat until thickened, adding more potatoes if thicker soup is desired.
7 Place remaining kernels in a heatproof sieve and suspend over the stockpot, covered, until slightly softened. Just before serving, add corn kernels, salt and pepper to taste, tarragon and cayenne or chili pepper.
8 Stir well, pour soup into bowls.
9 Serve warm or cold garnished with jumbo lump crabmeat, zest and chives or tomato.
Yield: 4 servings.
Variations: Add a tablespoon of barbecue sauce if you want a smoky note. This corn soup is also excellent served over warmed, buttered cornbread muffins.
4 cooked, chilled asparagus spears
3 tomatoes, sliced 1/8-inch thick
Salt and pepper, to taste
8 (1-inch-by-2-inch) squares of yellow watermelon
8 (1-inch-by-2-inch) squares of red watermelon
1/4 lb. mozzarella cheese, sliced about 1/4-inch thick
1/4 lb. prosciutto, sliced paper thin
Balsamic vinaigrette (see note)
1 Toss asparagus and tomatoes with vegetable oil, and then season with salt and pepper to taste.
2 On an outdoor or indoor grill over medium-high heat, cook asparagus for 3 minutes, turning once. Grill the tomato slices for 30 seconds on each side.
3 On each of four plates, alternate two red and two yellow watermelon squares and then lay asparagus across to create a table top-like surface.
4 Artfully arrange tomatoes, mozzarella and prosciutto across asparagus.
5 Drizzle vinaigrette over all.
Yield: 4 servings.
Note: Good quality commercially prepared balsamic vinaigrette works well in this recipe or prepare your own by putting 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar, a tablespoon of chopped garlic, salt and pepper to taste and 3/4 cup olive oil in a screw top jar. Shake well.