The long summer days and warm summer nights we have been enjoying here in New York have me thinking about summers past. When I spent a summer up in Napa while working at a winery, we had lots of friends who wanted to visit. We would grill and play bocci ball in the yard, drinking chilled wine and laughing. Occasionally it would be too hot to grill so I want to share one of my favorite recipes for backyard parties ~ sans grill. Whip this up the day before so you can enjoy a cold glass of rosé with your friends!
NAPA SUMMER SALAD WITH SALTY CHARCUTERIE & PECORINO
(serves 4 people)
1 bunch asparagus (sliced and blanched)
1 cup peas thawed (blanched if fresh)
1 cup snap peas or fava beans (blanched & shelled if fava)
5-8 leave of fresh basil sliced into thin ribbons
5-8 leaves of fresh mint sliced into thin ribbons
1/2 cup toasted pine nuts
Zest of one lemon
Juice of half a lemon
Drizzle of good extra virgin olive oil
A few cracks of fresh pepper
Good pinch of salt
0.3 LB Pecorino Foja De Noce (or any pecorino) Sliced thin and served over the salad)
20 slices of prosciutto
4 slice of rustic bread charred on the grill or in the oven, (you could also serve this without charring)
This salad is something that you can make either the day before or an hour before you expect people to arrive. Just let it come up to room temperature before serving.
Boil water in a large saucepan. When bubbling, blanch the fresh peas, asparagus, fava beans/ snap peas individually until bright green. Careful not to over cook them as you want them to have “snap” when cooled. Remove from boiling water and shock in ice bath until cooled, drain. Then pile them into a big serving bowl. Toast the pine nuts in a skillet over medium high heat, careful not to burn them. Remove from heat, cool the nuts and add them to the bowl. Zest one lemon over the top of the veggies and squeeze the juice of half over as well. Drizzle some olive oil over the top and season with salt & pepper. Thinly slice the mint & basil and add to the salad. Mix to combine.
Grab a large platter or plate for the prosciutto and other charcuterie. Plate them up nicely and drizzle with a touch of olive oil salt and pepper. Plate the cheese on a cheese board and serve it room temperature. If charring the bread, prepare it while toasting the pine nuts, otherwise serve sliced as is with olive oil to dip in.
I usually serve this with a bottle of rosé from France or a white wine from Italy like a vermentino.
Also, feel free to make lots of this salad if you want to make great left overs. Maybe grilled shrimp or calamari would be ideal for a day after compliment.