First up is the Roasted Asparagus with Parmesan and Balsamic Vinegar. This is one of those simple Spring/Summer dishes that require very little work but has great flavor and looks surprisingly impressive.
24 large asparagus spears (about 2 pounds), trimmed
Coarse sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
Parmesan, for shaving
1 | Preheat oven to 400°F. Arrange asparagus spears in a single layer on a large rimmed baking sheet. Drizzle oil over asparagus and turn to coat. Season with salt and pepper. Roast, turning occasionally, until lightly browned and just tender, 18-20 minutes.
2 | Transfer asparagus to a platter. To serve, drizzle vinegar over hot asparagus and use a vegetable peeler to shave Parmesan over the spears.
In the previous post, my inspiration for the Mango Coolers came from Bon Appétit's feature on Gwyneth Paltrow. Well, this delicious dish comes from the same article! Paltrow's Grilled Chicken with Peach BBQ Sauce is easily going to be a go-to dish for future dinner parties. The sauce takes a little work but it's totally worth it!
GRILLED CHICKEN WITH PEACH BBQ SAUCE | Recipe inspired by Bon Appétit June 2011
1 cup chopped peeled fresh peaches
1/2 cup ketchup
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 1/2 teaspoons adobo sauce or 1 teaspoon soy sauce
Course sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 skinless, boneless chicken breasts
1 | Combine first 5 ingredients in a small saucepan. Season lightly with salt and pepper and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to low; simmer until peaches are very soft and flavors meld, about 10 minutes. Remove pan from heat; let cool. Pour peach mixture into a blender and purée until smooth. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Place half the sauce in a medium bowl; add the chicken and turn to coat. Let marinate at room temperature for 20 minutes, or cover and chill for up to 8 hours, turning occasionally. Cover and refrigerate remaining sauce.
2 | Prepare a grill to medium-high heat. Brush grill rack with oil. Grill chicken until browned and almost cooked through, 4-5 minutes per side. Brush on all sides with reserved sauce; grill until glazed and cooked through, 1-2 minutes per side. Slice crosswise. Serve remaining sauce alongside.
Now for the dessert! I tend to favor savory foods but some combinations of sweets can be so good that they (almost) take things to a whole new level of bliss; and apparently, they can make you giggle at the sight of them! My Strawberry Compote had a very exciting reception when my dear friend Henry burst into laughter at the sight of it.
STRAWBERRY COMPOTE WITH MINT
1 1/2 pounds strawberries, stemmed and cut lengthwise into 6 segments
2 tablespoons Grand Marnier
1 tablespoon orange zest
1 1/2 cups freshly squeezed orange juice
1 tablespoon sugar
6 mint leaves chopped, plus extra for garnish
1 | Combine berries, Grand Marnier, zest and sugar in a medium bowl. Toss; let stand 30 minutes.
2 | Bring juice to a boil in a small saucepan over medium heat; reduce heat, and simmer until liquid is reduced to 1/4 cup, about 20 minutes. Remove from heat; let cool. Pour over strawberries, and toss to combine.