Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Here Comes Summer!

Possibly a tad keen on my part but it was such a gloriously sunny weekend after all the rain, can't hurt  - much - to hope. Planning days out and dinners dominated by, if not delicacy, then certainly a lightness of touch seems marginally less ridiculous than usual. This positivity was enforced by an email from Sopexa enquiring whether I'd care to sample a couple of bottles of Chablis -  bien sur!

Chablis is the steely white wine produced in the Burgundy region of France. It has a slightly austere quality that is very refreshing on a warm day and means it pairs well with seafood and simple poultry dishes. Salad had pole position on the menu plan for the weekend - the verdant flavours of fresh leaves and cucumbers and, especially, asparagus have been seducing me these last few weeks. It is very definitely spring when the fat bundles of asparagus are piled up early at the market.

Loved the idea of warm roast chicken for Saturday night special, even more so with a bottle of Domaine Vocoret & Fils Premier Cru chilling in the fridge. Aiming for elegance and simplicity I planned no more than a beautiful green salad on the side, dressed with a tarragon cream sauce. I associate tarragon mostly with Italy, where it is known as dragoncello, a name that conjures for me all manner of excitements and fire. I love the mix of aniseed and light vanilla notes that judicious use confers on all manner of dishes and try and grow it in the summer, sometimes successfully.

Dragoncello Dressing

This makes enough for a generous bowl of your favourite mix of salad leaves spiked with thin slices of cucumber and chopped chives

1 medium egg, hard boiled and cooled
A pinch of smoked paprika
70ml double cream
1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
1 teaspoon chopped tarragon leaves
Salt and pepper

When the boiled egg is cold, peel and cut in half then scoop the yolk out into a small bowl. You can discard the white or, like me, add a twist of salt and claim it as cook's treat. Mash the yolk very thoroughly with a fork and season with a little paprika. Add a teaspoon of cold water and mix well then add the cream, vinegar and tarragon. Taste and season then add to your salad and toss gently to combine and serve immediately.

This makes such a great dressing I couldn't resist making another batch Sunday to dress still warm new potatoes for a fine dinner of cold roast chicken with basil dressed asparagus and peas for green. A cool glass of Jean-Marc Brocard Chablis 2012 rounded out the first weekend of *summer* delightfully.

Thanks to the Bureau Interprofessionnel des Vins de Bourgogne (BIVB) for supplying the wine!

No comments: