Midsummer Night’s Dinner Party

by The Gilded Fork

With the Midsummer heat comes a natural desire to eat refreshing flavors, and in keeping with that need we’ve highlighted the tastes of citrus, mint and lemongrass in this month’s menu. Wine notes are included below, and we’ve kept things light, both in color and body, to match our dishes.

This is the perfect menu for a gathering with friends on the patio, or inside where the air conditioner is a haven for respite from the heat. Sablefish lightly poached in olive oil with hints of citrus serves as a main course in this celebration of refreshing, light tastes.

FIRST COURSE

Lobster, Mango and Jicama Summer Rolls with Nuoc Cham Nem Dipping Sauce
Suggested wine pairing: Prosecco
(see Wine Notes below for further details)

SOUP COURSE

Chilled Cucumber Mint Soup
Suggested wine pairing: Prosecco

MAIN COURSE

Olive Oil Poached Sablefish with Citrus and Thyme
Suggested wine pairing: Cabernet Sauvignon

DESSERT COURSE

Caramelized Pineapple Timbales with Lemongrass Creme


WINE PAIRING NOTES

We’ve decided to keep things very simple, as wine and Summer heat are often a very heady mix. The focus is on refreshing varietals — some with a bit of sparkle — to reflect the lightness of the meal.

Lobster and Mango Summer Rolls with Nuoc Cham Nem Dipping Sauce

Varietal: Prosecco

Reasoning: Thought of as the ideal Summer bubbly, a Prosecco frizante (semi-sparkling) would complement the lightness of these rolls quite nicely. Bright straw-colored, lemony and light with a fruity taste, Prosecco often has tones of melon and honey.

Chilled Cucumber Mint Soup

Varietal: Prosecco

Reasoning: The Prosecco will also complement the flavors of this chilled soup, so feel free to continue with your bottle (or open another!) with this course.

Olive Oil Poached Sablefish with Thyme and Citrus

Varietal: Sauvignon Blanc

Reasoning: A zippy Sauvignon Blanc will complement the lemon in this gently poached fish, and its fruity herby notes will balance the strength of the olive oil.

Caramelized Pineapple Timbales with Lemongrass Creme

Varietal: None

Reasoning: Given its sweetness and acidity, we recommend enjoying this dessert all by itself. We suggest, instead, an after dinner digestif of limoncello. What better way to finish off a meal that has been accented with citrus and lemongrass flavors than with this bright yellow, tart and sweet liqueur? Serve it chilled in small ceramic glasses that have also been chilled, and you will be singing the sweet lemony praises of Summer.

MISE EN PLACE

For those curious about the meaning of mise en place, it is a French culinary term for “set in place.” If you have ever watched a cooking show, or been inside a restaurant kitchen, you will notice that next to the cooking area, things are set up just so. Ingredients, sauces and critical elements are ready to be used, whether pre-cooked, pre-chopped, or ready as a garnish. This kind of organized setup enables a cook to focus on the actual act of cooking itself without distraction. Our intention with this section is to use the same approach at home, enabling you to host your own special occasions with flair.

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