Happy Champagne Summer ~ enjoying sitting outside and celebrating all things bubbly!
Champagne Charles Mignon Cuvée Comte de Marne Brut Grand Cru, NV
$48 range. 55% Pinot Noir and 45% Chardonnay grapes. Nice acidity and hints of white flowers with strawberry. Underlying light apple notes with a touch of mineral and toast. Crisp and elegant.
I found this lovely summer recipe for Cherry Gazpacho in one of our neighborhood magazines The South Roanoke Circle in an article by David Lake Cook’s Nook, Liquid Pleasure = Liquid Salad. The cherries add a surprising zing to this Spanish chilled soup. Don’t forget to chill your serving bowls and soup spoons in the freezer before service which will help to keep the soup nice and chilly as your guests enjoy it. The tomatoes, peppers and herbs in the photo above were freshly picked out of my garden.
Three 1-inch-thick slices of a rustic white sandwich-style bread
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
3 garlic cloves, 1 thinly sliced
1 red bell pepper, coarsely chopped
1 yellow bell pepper, coarsely chopped
1 seedless cucumber, peeled and coarsely chopped
1 pound fresh bing or sweet cherries, pitted, set aside 12 cherries and finely dice them
3 ounces tomato juice
1 1/2 ounces red wine vinegar
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1 thyme sprig
Tabasco sauce (I used Peri-Peri medium hot sauce)
4 basil leaves, torn, for garnish
Cherry gazpacho mixture: Drizzle 1 bread slice with olive oil on both sides – do not cut it up yet. In a medium skillet, fry the bread over moderate heat, turning once or twice, until golden, about 4 minutes. Rub the bread on one side with 1 whole garlic clove. Cut the bread int 1-inch cubes and transfer to a bowl. Add the sliced garlic, red and yellow bell peppers, cucumber, whole pitted cherries, tomato juice, vinegar, and 1/4 cup of the olive oil. Season lightly with salt and pepper and let stand at room temperature for 2 hours.
Croutons: Meanwhile, cut the remaining bread into 1/2 -inch cubes and toss with the remaining 1/4 cup of olive oil. Add the bread cubes to the skillet along with the thyme and the remaining garlic clove and cook over moderate heat, stirring frequently until the croutons are browned and crisp, about 4 minutes. Transfer the croutons to paper towels to drain. Discard the garlic and thyme and season the croutons with salt.
Working in batches, puree the cherry mixture in a blender until smooth. Strain the gazpacho through a fine sieve. Season with salt, pepper and Tabasco.
Ladle the gazpacho into shallow bowls. Garnish with diced cherries, croutons and basil. Drizzle with olive oil and serve.
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