May Class 2018

May Class 2018

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I so enjoy summertime, being outside together with family and friends, lingering in the sunshine, sipping a beverage while waiting for the grill to heat up. But my true love of summer is the produce. Tomatoes picked when they are still warm from the sun, crunchy cucumbers, beautiful glossy eggplants, and fresh peaches right off the tree, that smell so sweet you can’t wait to eat them, the juice running down your chin. To me, there is no better way to take in the season than sharing these delicious summer ingredients simply prepared alongside meat that has been perfectly grilled,. To end the meal, vanilla ice cream topped off with a simple honey, Moscato syrup and peaches. This summertime menu is sure to be a hit with everyone….

Panzanella Salad: this is a traditional Italian bread salad I like to make with lightly toasted ciabatta bread, cucumbers, a selection of summer’s best tomatoes and basil, then tossed with a light vinaigrette. The bread is slightly crunchy, slightly drenched in the vinaigrette. The crunch of the cucumbers and the sweetest of the tomatoes and basil makes this a salad that is truly is summertime in a bowl!

Eggplant gratin: this is one of my favorite summer dishes. The word gratin has two meanings: one is an oval-shaped baking dish; second, a topping that is browned. You can use whatever baking dish you have, it will not affect the taste. The onions, garlic, and tomatoes are cooked down to a jam-like consistency, topped with layers of eggplant and a ricotta-yogurt mixture, finished with a sprinkle of Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese that is slightly browned. This dish is fantastic for great entertaining since it can be made ahead. You can serve it as a starter, or alongside your main dish. I love it the next day with a fried egg on top for breakfast or a light lunch. 

Marinated, boneless leg of lamb: when thinking of summer grilling, a boneless leg of lamb is probably not usually what comes first to mind.  Lamb has somehow gotten a bad rap of having a very strong flavor and taste. This recipe I believe will change the minds of even the biggest lamb skeptics out there. The boneless leg of lamb is “ butterflied” which is a culinary term to cut a thick piece of meat into a thinner thickness. The lamb is marinated and then perfectly grilled. Smoky charred on the outside, juicy on the inside and, served with a simple fresh herb pistou sauce, this just may make it to the top of your outdoor grilling repertoire!

Peaches with Honey and Almond: nothing says summer like fresh-off-the-tree fruits!  I was inspired by a sack of peaches my neighbor gave me fresh off of her tree one evening right before dinner. I didn’t have time to make a crostata, galette or pie, but I was craving that sweet syrupiness of the cooked fruit and sugar! So here we mix up a simple sauce of butter, honey, and Moscato that turns into a beautifully thick heavenly glaze for the peaches in just 15 minutes.  Served over vanilla ice cream….it’s a sublime way to end a meal!

Happy Summer!