I have an enduring penchant for soup and Potato Leek has always been one of my favorites. While not the most figure-friendly option, it’s delightfully hearty and warming, the perfect comfort on a chilly Winter day like we’ve been experiencing lately in South Florida – seriously, it really HAS been cold! I recently came across this recipe for Celery Leek... Read More
The post Which Wines to Pair With: Celery Leek Soup with Bacon & Croutons! appeared first on The Glamorous Gourmet.
I have an enduring penchant for soup and Potato Leek has always been one of my favorites. While not the most figure-friendly option, it’s delightfully hearty and warming, the perfect comfort on a chilly Winter day like we’ve been experiencing lately in South Florida – seriously, it really HAS been cold!
I recently came across this recipe for Celery Leek Soup with Bacon & Croutons which sounded very similar except it didn’t call for the starchy potatoes or heavy cream found in most Potato Leek Soup recipes – well, the good ones anyway. The Celery Leek Soup recipe swapped the potatoes for celery and the heavy cream was replaced with a scant 1/2 cup of crème fraîche. My husband had also been on a celery kick lately and whether slathered with peanut butter or accompanied by a Bloody Mary he couldn’t get enough of it! It seemed like the perfect time to give this recipe a try but could celery possibly make an adequate substitute for potatoes? There was only one way to find out.
I must admit, halfway through the recipe I was a little doubtful. As the veggies cooked down it didn’t seem like the celery was going to cut it as a replacement for rich, creamy Yukon Golds. I forged on, however, and I’m so glad I did! The Soup Gods were definitely smiling on me that day – this celery-based soup was creamy, flavorful, and delicious! The puree of celery, leeks, onions, and garlic is deliciously enhanced by the addition of crème fraîche and then studded with smoky, crunchy bits of bacon and croutons – what’s not to love about that? A few tips though, be sure to season the soup generously with salt and pepper, sampling often to adjust to your taste. Feel free to puree the soup to your desired level of consistency. If you prefer it super silky, strain it through a sieve after you puree it, we enjoyed the soup with some texture though.
To pair with the Celery Leek Soup with Bacon & Croutons I recommend the 2009 Pillar Box White ($16) from Padthaway, Australia. This blend of Sauvignon Blanc, Verdelho, and Chardonnay has delightful notes of pear and tangy citrus with a food friendly acidity that pairs so nicely with the soup. If you’re more of a red wine person, the 2011 Paul Cluver Pinot Noir ($20) from South Africa will also pair nicely, highlighting the smoky bacon aspect of the dish. I hope you enjoy this pairing as much as we did – I’d love to hear what you think!
“Celery Leek Soup with Bacon & Croutons”
Adapted from Food & Wine Magazine, January 2015
6 tablespoons butter
3 medium leeks, halved & thinly sliced
2 medium onions, finely chopped
3 large garlic cloves, thinly sliced
12 large ribs of celery, trimmed & thinly sliced
4 ounces bacon slices
Three 1/2-inch-thick slices of country or French bread, cut into 1/2-inch dice
1/2 cup crème fraîche or sour cream
Kosher salt & freshly ground black pepper
1.) In a large saucepan, melt 4 tablespoons of the butter. Add the leeks, onions, garlic and a generous pinch each of Kosher salt and pepper and cook over moderately high heat, stirring, until softened but not browned, about 12 minutes. Add the celery and cook, stirring, until just starting to soften, about 3 minutes. Add 8 cups of water and bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to moderate. Simmer, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are very tender, 35 to 40 minutes.
2.) Meanwhile, in a large skillet, cook the slices of bacon over moderate heat, until browned and crisp, 8 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the bacon to half of a paper towel–lined baking sheet to drain. Melt the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter in the bacon fat. Add the diced bread and cook over moderately high heat, stirring, until lightly browned and crisp, 8 minutes. Transfer to the other side of the prepared baking sheet; season with salt and pepper. Chop or crumble cooled bacon slices into bite size pieces.
3.) Using an immersion blender, puree the soup in the pot until it gets smooth or you reach your desired texture. If you don’t have an immersion blender, puree the soup in batched in a blender and return to the saucepan. Once blended, whisk in the crème fraîche and season generously with Kosher salt and pepper.
4.) Serve the soup hot, topped with the chopped bacon and croutons and wine pairing if desired.
This time of year in South Florida we are obsessed with Stone Crabs, a delicacy only available from October 15th through May 15th. While these crustaceans can be found in waters as far north as Connecticut, the best are widely believed to come from Florida. The world famous Joe’s Stone Crab in Miami’s South Beach is the authority on these... Read More
This time of year in South Florida we are obsessed with Stone Crabs, a delicacy only available from October 15th through May 15th. While these crustaceans can be found in waters as far north as Connecticut, the best are widely believed to come from Florida. The world famous Joe’s Stone Crab in Miami’s South Beach is the authority on these crustaceans, also known as Menippe Mercenaria (Menippe = Greek, meaning force or courage and Mercenaria = Latin meaning something of value).
Unlike most other crabs including Maine’s Peekytoe, Chesapeake Blue, or the Pacific Dungeoness, only the claws of the stone crab are harvested and the crabs are not killed during the process. These crabs are captured in baited traps and only one claw per crab can be taken so it can still defend itself against predators. The claws make up about half the weight of the entire crab and once harvested, the pricey appendages are classified and priced according to weight – Colossal size claws can weigh up to 25 ounces or more! Once harvested, the crab is returned to the water where the claw will regenerate in approximately 12-24 months.
The stone crab gets its name from their extremely hard shells and the claws must be cracked prior to eating – an art form in and of itself! Stone crabs have a delicious, sweet flavor and their texture is somewhere between the delicacy of crab and the decadence of lobster. They are traditionally served with a mustard sauce which complements the delicious meat although many prefer to eat them plain with nothing at all. Many establishments are know for their mustard sauce and there’s some debate as to which type of sauce is the best. Some folks lean towards a spicy mustard sauce (like us!) while others tend towards sweet with the addition of some honey. Which type of mustard sauce do you prefer if any at all?
Wine pairing suggestions: In order to complement the texture and flavor of the crab as well as the tanginess of the mustard sauce, opt for wines with notes of citrus and stone fruit with a racy, cleansing acidity. Champagne, Sauvignon Blanc, Vermentino, and unoaked Chardonnay are wonderful choices to pair with Florida Stone Crabs. Here are our recommendations available at The Wine Atelier:
1.) Champagne Ayala Brut Majeur, Champagne, France, NV ($44) – a light, fresh style of Champagne which will complement the texture of the crab meat beautifully!
2.) Round Pond Estate Sauvignon Blanc Rutherford, California ($20) – notes of juicy citrus and white flowers characterize this California beauty!
3.) Banfi La Pettegola Vermentino, IGT Toscana, Italy, 2013 ($20) – light and bright with notes of green apple, apricot & grapefruit with a racy acidity!
4.) Drouhin Vaudon Chablis, Burgundy, France, 2012 ($25) – Notes of apple, citrus, and white peach characterize this mouth watering Chardonnay!
Looking for a weeknight dinner that will satisfy your hunger yet is light enough to enjoy on a warm Summer night? This recipe for Grilled Cantaloupe with Prosciutto and Burrata definitely fits the bill! Ripe slices of sweet melon are wrapped in deliciously salty prosciutto and when they hit the grill – magic happens! Because this is a Fast &... Read More
The post Fast & Fabulous: Grilled Cantaloupe with Prosciutto & Burrata! appeared first on The Glamorous Gourmet.
Looking for a weeknight dinner that will satisfy your hunger yet is light enough to enjoy on a warm Summer night? This recipe for Grilled Cantaloupe with Prosciutto and Burrata definitely fits the bill! Ripe slices of sweet melon are wrapped in deliciously salty prosciutto and when they hit the grill – magic happens! Because this is a Fast & Fabulous recipe it only takes a minimum amount of time to prepare – hungry yet?
While Summer is prime time for grilling outdoors there aren’t many of us who relish the thought of waiting for food to cook over an open flame in 100 degree heat. That’s why God (or was it Williams-Sonoma?) invented the grill pan! I love mine and it certainly makes weeknight grilling a feasible prospect. The grill pan also has the advantage of being non-stick so all that glorious char wipes off easily with soap and water and only a minimum of elbow grease.
Since this recipe only calls for a few ingredients, make sure they are of good quality. For instance, when selecting your cantaloupe, make sure it is ripe and ready to go. The melon should feel heavy in your hand and when sniffed, should smell like ripe melon. For the prosciutto, Prosciutto di Parma is a wonderful choice but other types of cured meat will work too. You need to make sure the meat is cut so it can wrap around the melon slices, Serrano ham would make a nice alternative. The Burrata cheese is the pièce de résistance of this dish. Burrata, which means “buttered” in Italian, is a fresh Italian cheese made from cream and mozzarella and if you haven’t tried it yet, it is definitely worth seeking out! Nowadays it can usually be found at your local grocery store in the specialty cheese section. On the outside the cheese looks like a beautiful, glistening ball of fresh mozzarella but when you cut into it, it is filled with curds and fresh cream – sheer deliciousness! Garnish the dish with Maldon sea salt, freshly ground black pepper and a good quality olive oil and you are all set.
If you’re looking for something to sip with this Fast & Fabulous dish a rosé would be heavenly! A fruity, dry rose like the Copain Tous Ensemble Rosé ($22) from California’s Anderson Valley would be a wonderful choice. In addition to its lovely notes of red berries it also has a delightfully food-friendly acidity which will further enhance your enjoyment of this Summer-inspired dish.
Grilled Cantaloupe with Prosciutto & Burrata
1 large ripe cantaloupe
1/2 lb thinly sliced prosciutto
4 balls of fresh burrata cheese
Maldon sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper
Good olive oil
Preheat an indoor grill pan or outdoor grill over med-high heat.
Slice the cantaloupe in half lengthwise and using a spoon, remove the pulp and seeds from the center of each half. Remove the rind from each half of the melon and slice it into 1/2 inch thick wedges. Wrap each slice of melon with a generous piece of prosciutto. Once the pieces are wrapped, brush the grates of the grill with olive oil and lay the slices down on the grates and cook in batches for approximately 1 minute per side or to desired doneness.
Plate the grilled melon slices with the burrata cheese. Season with Maldon salt and freshly ground black pepper the drizzle generously with the olive oil and serve!