From the Chronicle Kitchen:
Her latest book Wine Bites has just been released—perfectly timed for summer entertaining centered on wine and the foods that perfectly compliment many different varietals.
What’s your favorite wine to pair with summer foods? Deviled eggs are back big time—love them or hate them? Leave a comment below and you’ll be eligible to win the copy of Wine Bites we’ll be giving away at random to one lucky poster.
What’s better than having a few friends over for some summertime eats and drinks? It’s the perfect time to kick back and relax, savor the beautiful weather, and indulge in some scrumptious food and wine.
I love the ease of summer hosting when I can let the season do a lot of the work for me and serve dishes made with garden-fresh produce (think juicy red tomatoes and sweet corn) and super-ripe fruits. That said, I always like to include a showstopper or two in the menu.
One of my favorite summertime finger foods is deviled eggs. These picnic classics are a crowd pleaser and they always disappear very quickly. I developed a delicious riff on deviled eggs for my new book, Wine Bites. The recipe is based on salade Niçoise, the beloved dish from the South of France that is made with tuna, olives, capers, and anchovies among other ingredients. These eggs are easy to make, inexpensive, and they can be prepped ahead of time. And if you’re not sure if all of your guests are mad about tuna and anchovies, you can mix it up a bit and substitute them with chopped lump crabmeat, smoked trout, smoked salmon, or baby shrimp. Ils sont très chic!
Serve these tasty little numbers with chilled rosé or a crisp Muscadet.
Another wonderful thing to serve for a summer get-together is Chicken Satay. It’s an ideal party dish since most of the work—prepping the marinade and dipping sauce—can be done in advance. The actual grilling time is only about 10 minutes. These skewered beauties can be served as appetizers and they also make an excellent entrée. Cold soba or sesame noodles and Asian slaw are perfect accompaniments to the chicken.
Since there are no hard and fast rules about pairing red or white wine with grilled food it’s a fine idea to offer them both with Chicken Satay. Good choices are Pinot Noir (which tastes great chilled) and Chardonnay.
So don’t let summer fly by without making some crazy-good food for your friends and family and toasting the season with a lovely glass of wine. Cheers!
Deviled Eggs Niçoise
People are crazy for deviled eggs, among the most classic of picnic finger foods. Outdoors or in more elegant settings inside, whenever I serve them, they disappear quickly. This version springs from the hard-boiled eggs that are one of the definitive ingredients in salade Niçoise, and piles on other delicious flavors from that beloved French dish.
These are wonderful with a chilled Muscadet or rosé.
Makes 12 deviled eggs
6 large eggs
One 6-oz/170-g can tuna, drained
2 tbsp chopped Niçoise olives
1 tbsp capers, rinsed and drained
1 tbsp olive oil
2 tsp balsamic vinegar/vincotto
1 tsp Dijon mustard
Freshly ground black pepper
12 small anchovy fillets (optional)
Finely chopped green beans and red bell pepper/capsicum, peppadews, or pimientos for garnish
1. Put the eggs in a large saucepan and add cold water to cover. Bring to a gentle boil over medium-high heat. When the water just begins to boil, remove the pot from the heat and cover tightly. Let the eggs stand, covered, for 30 minutes. Drain the eggs and rinse under cold running water. Pat the eggs dry and let cool completely.
2. When the eggs are cool enough to handle, peel them and cut in half lengthwise. Gently scoop the yolks into a large bowl, being careful not to break the whites. Arrange the egg white halves, cavity side up, on a platter and set aside.
3. Add the tuna, olives, and capers to the bowl with the yolks and mix well with a fork, flaking the tuna finely and mashing the yolks until smooth. In a small bowl, whisk together the olive oil, vinegar, and mustard. Add the vinaigrette to the yolk mixture and stir to blend well. Season with pepper to taste.
4. Using a small spoon, mound the filling in the cavities of the egg white halves, dividing it evenly. Top each with an anchovy fillet, if using, and garnish with the bell pepper/capsicum, peppadews, or pimientos. Serve chilled or at room temperature.
Make-Ahead: The deviled eggs can be made up to 3 hours in advance. Cover loosely with plastic wrap/cling film and refrigerate. Serve chilled or remove from the refrigerator 30 minutes before serving and serve at room temperature.
Wine Bite Idea
Try these delicious filling variations for deviled eggs with fish, or create your own. Be sure to use good-quality mayo, or homemade. To the egg yolks, add:
* 1/2 cup/120 ml mayonnaise, 1 tsp Dijon mustard, 1/4 cup/40 g each finely chopped anchovies and celery, and freshly ground black pepper to taste.
* 1/2 cup/120 ml mayonnaise, 1 tsp Dijon mustard, 1/4 cup/40 g finely chopped fresh lump crabmeat, and fresh lemon juice, salt, and freshly ground black pepper to taste.
* 1/2 cup/120 ml mayonnaise, 1 tsp Dijon mustard, 1/4 cup/40 g finely chopped smoked salmon, 2 tbsp finely minced fresh dill, and fresh lemon juice to taste. Garnish each with a small dill sprig.
* 1/2 cup/120 ml mayonnaise, 1 tsp Dijon mustard, and fresh lemon juice, salt, and freshly ground black pepper to taste. Garnish each with a small cooked and chilled shrimp/prawn.
Chicken Satay with Peanut Dipping Sauce
Skewers straight from the fire make wonderful appetizers. These bites of barbecued Thai-spiced chicken on a stick are always welcome. Nam pla, sambal oelek, and lemongrass are available in Asian markets, where you will also find inexpensive bags of bamboo skewers. Wooden skewers for cooking are also available in most well-stocked supermarkets. Grilled dishes always go well both red and white wines. Either Pinot Noir or Chardonnay would be good choices.
Makes 20 skewers; serves 6 to 8
1 small yellow onion, peeled and quartered
1/4 cup/35 g minced lemongrass (see Note)
2 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped
1/2-inch/12-mm piece fresh ginger, peeled and coarsely chopped
1/4 cup/50 g firmly packed brown sugar/demerara sugar
3 tbsp soy sauce
3 tbsp fish sauce (nam pla)
2 tbsp fresh lime juice
1 tbsp ground coriander
2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp ground turmeric
1 1/2 lb/680 g skinless, boneless chicken breasts, cut into 20 strips
Vegetable oil cooking spray for grilling
1 tbsp vegetable oil
1 cup/240 ml unsweetened coconut milk
1/2 cup/140 g smooth peanut butter
1 tbsp brown sugar/demerara sugar
1 tsp chile paste such as sambal oelek
2 tbsp fresh lime juice
2 tbsp chopped peanuts
1/4 cup/10 g chopped fresh cilantro/fresh coriander
To make the marinade: In a food processor, combine the onion, lemongrass, garlic, ginger, brown/demerara sugar, soy sauce, fish sauce, lime juice, ground coriander, cumin, and turmeric and process until smooth.
Put the chicken strips in a large zippered plastic bag and pour in the marinade. Seal the bag and massage gently to coat the chicken with the marinade. Let marinate in the refrigerator, turning the bag once or twice, for at least 4 hours or up to overnight.
If using wooden skewers, soak twenty of them in cold water for at least 30 minutes. Meanwhile, prepare a medium-hot fire for direct grilling in a charcoal grill/barbecue, or preheat a gas grill to medium-high. Coat the grill rack with cooking oil spray to prevent sticking. Alternatively, preheat the broiler/grill.
To make the dipping sauce: Heat the oil in a saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the coconut milk and bring to a boil, stirring. Whisk in the peanut butter, brown/demerara sugar, and chili paste and return just to a simmer. Remove from the heat and let cool a bit. Transfer the sauce to a blender, add the lime juice, and blend until smooth. Transfer to a small serving bowl and garnish with the peanuts. Set aside.
Drain the skewers. Remove the chicken strips from the marinade and discard the marinade. Thread one chicken strip on each skewer, working the skewer in and out of the middle of the strip vertically so it stays in place during grilling. Nudge the threaded chicken strip gently along the skewer so it fills only half of the skewer, leaving the other half empty so you have a handle to work with.
Wearing an oven mitt or grill glove or using tongs, arrange the skewers directly over the fire. Grill, turning once, until the chicken is opaque throughout and nicely grill-marked, about 5 minutes per side. Or slip under the broiler/grill and broil/grill, turning once, until opaque throughout, 5 to 7 minutes per side.
Arrange the satay on a platter, garnish with the cilantro/fresh coriander, and serve at once with the dipping sauce.
Note: When purchasing stalks of fresh lemongrass, look for firm stalks. To use, cut off the lower bulb and remove any tough outer leaves. Mince the yellow part of the stalks.
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