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Summer brings a carefree energy everyone craves all year, and what better way to celebrate the conviviality of the season than on a breezy patio with some simple eats and libations?
The wine pairings stand up beautifully beside the colourful plates and articulate just how varied our options are in warm weather climates. Sprucewood Shores features a show stopping riesling, making a sophisticated match that dances on the palate with its rich, delicious tones. A white orange wine from a biodynamic vineyard in Niagara and a delicious rosé by an Oscar-winning director’s family winery round out the selections, all making for great conversation starters and juicy sipping.
These food recipes bring a twist to familiar ingredients with summery staples like apple, corn and prosciutto getting a fresh update with inventive additions and a balanced lifestyle in mind. Designed for minimal prep and even less oven heat, these three grazing snacks can all be prepared ahead of time and will impress your guests without you needing to leave your wine glass unattended for long.
Let’s get this patio party started!
Corn Salad with Peaches, Cucumber & Red Onion
Wine Pairing: Sprucewood Shores Sweet Select VQA
This sweet juicy salad is a cinch to make and a definite crowd pleaser on a hot day. Can be served as an appetizer, side dish, or with an addition of 1/4 cup of chopped jalapeños, it can be a quick salsa topper for grilled chicken or fish.
1) Simmer corn for 8 minutes in a large pot with salted water. Drain and allow to cool for 2-3 minutes. While corn is still warm, use a dishcloth to grip corn and carefully remove kernels by sliding a sharp knife down the cob. Place kernels in a large bowl and mix in butter, salt and pepper, stirring well. Set aside and let cool for 10 minutes and prep remaining ingredients.
2) Once corn mixture has cooled, add all remaining ingredients to bowl, stirring well to combine. Dish out equal portions in small ramekins, bowls or 4 oz mason jars.
Wine Pairing: Serve with a chilled bottle of Sprucewood Shores Sweet Select. The bright off-dry riesling by Ontario’s welcoming beachfront winery pairs beautifully with the crisp crunch of the corn salad by accentuating peach undertones and leaving you with a fruity finish.
***Refrain from substituting with regular balsamic vinegar, as it will discolour the salad. White balsamic is a great substitute if you don’t have cider vinegar!
Apple Nachos with Candied Pecans and Spiced Lime-Tahini Drizzle
Wine Pairing: Southbrook Vidal Skin Fermented White Orange Wine
This clever take on ‘nachos’ is just as addictive as the cheese-laden corn tortillas you’ve come to know and love, and requires much less preparation. The spice mix can be made in a larger batch if desired and used in other recipes such as apple crisp, fruit cobblers or homemade granola. The recipe can be thrown together quickly right before guests arrive. Using lemon juice on cut apples helps to prevent browning.
1) In a small bowl, combine all spices, lime zest, juice, and tahini. Stir until completely combined into a thick paste. Gradually stir in a 1/4 cup of lukewarm water (or enough until mixture is thin enough to drizzle). Set bowl aside.
2) Cut apples as directed above, arrange on a large platter, and drizzle with lemon juice. Scatter candied pecans, pumpkin seeds, and raisins on top of apples, then drizzle liberally with spiced lime tahini sauce to your taste. Garnish with hemp hearts and serve immediately.
Wine Pairing: Southbrook Vidal Skin Fermented White Orange Wine gets its orange hue from skin fermented grape skins, surely to be a talking point poolside! The earthy first sip pairs well with the sesame tones from tahini and balances well with the apple’s tartness. The finish is rounded out by the signature sweetness of the familiar vidal grape that earned its fame as a coveted ice wine varietal.
Grilled Asparagus with Prosciutto & Balsamic Drizzle
Wine Pairing: Francis Coppola Sofia Rosé
There’s nothing like freshly grown local asparagus, if you can get your hands on it! Combined with crisp prosciutto and the distinctive umami of parmigiano-reggiano, it’s a sophisticated but deceptively fast appetizer. This can be served warm off the grill, but also stands up well to being served up to 45 minutes after cooking
1) Blanch asparagus for approximately 1 minute in a shallow saucepan filled with simmering salted water. Remove from heat, strain, and promptly place in an ice bath for 2 minutes to stop the cooking process. Strain again, place on a platter and pat dry.
2) Preheat grill to 450 degrees, or turn on oven broiler if cooking indoors. While oven preheats, wrap the length of each asparagus spear with a single layer of prosciutto and lay on a foil-lined baking tray. Drizzle with olive oil, and season with salt and pepper.
3) Grill or broil for 2-3 minutes per side, or until prosciutto begins to darken. Remove from heat and arrange on a platter. Sprinkle with parmigiano-reggiano and drizzle liberally with balsamic glaze to taste.
Wine Pairing: Celebrated movie director, Francis Coppola named this elegant rosé after his daughter, Sofia. A soft blend of pinot noir and syrah, it will align itself perfectly with the salty snap from the prosciutto. Strawberries and balsamic have long been an edgy summer pair, and the berry notes floating on the nose of this delightful rosé make a timely appearance to complement the dish.