Well, almost no sweat. This has been an evolving experiment to produce a dinner for guests which involves very little time over the stove, takes advantage of your grill, and does not rely on carry-out. The important thing here is top quality ingredients, which does not mean the most expensive. This will feed six happy people.
Herbed Ricotta or Guacamole Filled Peppadew Peppers
White Sangria from Gourmet 1986
Mustard and Prosciutto Wrapped Pork Tenderloins
Grilled Peach & Nectarine Salad from Charred & Scruffed
Jean Hewitt’s Lemon Ice Cream
This white sangria is easily doubled-or even tripled. Serve it throughout your no-sweat meal with your friends. Looking back at my 1987 Gourmet Cookbook, 1986 was clearly a banner year for Gourmet. I have done so many good recipes from this particular one.
2 bottles dry white wine
1/2 cup Grand Marnier
2 tbs India Tree Caster Sugar
1/3 cup halved seedless red grapes
1/3 cup halved seedless white grapes
5-6 orange slices halved
1/2 red Delicious apple, cored and sliced thin
In a container that can pour easily, combine the wine, Grand Marnier and sugar and stir together. Add grapes, orange slices, apple slices. Chill for two hours and stir occasionally. You can make this 24 hours in advance. Serve over ice in wine glasses.
Herbed Ricotta or Guacamole Filled Peppadews
For our little Peppadews (they come mild and hot) you will need 1 cup of good quality ricotta. I get mine from Blue Ridge Dairy and about a third cup of freshly and finely cut herbs of your choice and a just a taste of squeezed garlic and fine sea salt. Mix your ricotta and herbs, taste to correct. Drain your Peppadews on a towel. Fill with a pastry bag and use either a #807 plain tube or #827 large star tube. A 12 inch Wunderbag from Ateco is Val’s favorite in the shop. Fill each one, cover with plastic wrap until it’s horses doover time. You can do as many you want and then store the ricotta filling for another time. The filling should be used in in a few days. For the quacamole filling, simply make your favorite recipe and fill the these little peppers in just the same way. I always keep a jar of these little peppers in the pantry because they make such neat little containers for all sorts of spreads.
Grilled Mustard & Prosciutto Wrapped Pork Tenderloins
The pork tenderloin recipe is adapted from a wonderful (and unfortunately not translated into English) French grilling book. I am planning on sharing its gems throughout the year as the author has some neat marinades, blends and recipes. I use two tenderloins which, when formed together and grilled, make nice servings.
2 pork tenderloins
sea salt and fresh pepper
1/2 lb prosciutto thinly sliced(longer slices are better than the shorter ones, and it does not need to be the most expensive brand of prosciutto)
Switch the thin end of one tenderloin so that it lays against the thick end of the other. That way you will have a relatively even roll when you tie. Sprinkle the two tenderloins with freshly ground pepper and sea salt. Press them together and spread with a layer of mustard. It does not have to be even, simply take your spatula and spread mustard on the exterior sides of the tenderloins.
You can either take the slices prosciutto and wrap them around the ends and the length of the tenderloins or lay them out on the butcher paper that they were wrapped in, placing the two tenderloins on top. Then wrap the slices completely around your tenderloins.
You will take some trussing twine and tie the prosciutto wrapped tenderloins at 1 inch intervals. I sometimes have tied it along the length (top and bottom) if the tenderloins are very long. This part can be done easily a day ahead. Wrap in your butcher papers and remove it about an hour before you grill.
Grill the tenderloin over a medium fire for about 30 minutes (we like the interior temperature to be 135-140 degrees F) turning it frequently. Allow to rest 10 minutes before serving. Slice and remove trussing twine. I garnish it with the grilled bits of prosciutto.
Grilled Peach and Nectarine Salad from Charred and Scruffed.
This cookbook by Adam Perry Lang has detailed, and often complex, recipes for your grill. We use some of his techniques from this book almost all the time. Others are more special occasion preparations. But this salad is easy, adaptable and the perfect side dish for this pork tenderloin preparation.
2 tbs granulated sugar
4 peaches, halved and pitted
1 tbs unsalted butter
4 nectarines, halved, pitted and cut into 1/8 inch thick slivers
2 tbs finely chopped red onion
2 cups tender arugula leaves
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
2 tbs freshly squeezed lime juice
1 tbs mild olive oil
fine sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
Aged Balsamic vinegar for drizzling
Extra Virgin olive oil for drizzling
1/4 cup toasted slivered almonds
Spread the sugar on a plate and coat the cut sides of the peaches with the sugar. Heat a flat cast iron griddle or large cast iron skillet over medium high heat until HOT. Add the butter and let it melt, then place the peaches, cut side down and cook until well caramelized just on the cut surface. This takes about 5 minutes. Transfer them to a plate.
Combine nectarines, red onion, greens and cilantro in a bowl. Add lime juice, mild olive oil, salt and pepper to taste, and toss gently.
Mound nectarine salad in the center of a platter and arrange the peaches, cut side up around it. Drizzle some top quality balsamic vinegar and extra virgin olive oil, sprinkle with toasted almonds and serve with the pork.
Jean Hewitt’s Unbelievably Easy Lemon Ice Cream
This recipe is from Maida Heatter’s Book of Great Desserts which still is one of the best dessert books I know. My copy is over probably 40 years old. Jean Hewitt was an incredible editor and food writer for the New York Times. She uses light cream, but I prefer a combination of whole milk and heavy cream.
zest of one large lemon or two small ones
3Tbs lemon juice freshly squeezed
1 cup India Tree Superfine or Caster Sugar
1 cup whole milk
1 cup heavy cream (not ultra pasteurized!)
pinch fine sea salt
Mix the zest, lemon juice, sugar and whisk together. Add cream, milk and salt. Mix thoroughly (by hand is fine). Pour into a flat container with a tight fitting lid and put in your freezer. Mix it with a spoon or spatula after about an hour. Put back in freezer until frozen. You can mix it more than once if you like. But that’s it! Serve with seasonal berries, or Amaretti.