What is summer? What does it taste like? Here in Northern New Mexico, summer means local patios and portals; fresh, cool (local!) cucumbers and peaches, corn and tomatoes—enjoyed outside, of course. It’s dips in the Rio Grande and Abiquiu Lake; the sweet-smelling relief of that damp high-mountain earth; the shade of a venerable old apricot tree…and it’s apricots, too. Come to think of it…Summer isn’t easily defined or reduced to one feeling or flavor. Still, we were curious this month about what our local connoisseurs of flavor had to say. So we asked two of our our favorite patio restaurants to tell us what the heat of summer tastes like to them. And sure enough, both Vinaigrette’s Erin Wade and Midtown Bistro Chef Angel Estrada shared with us recipes that exemplify the bright, cooling and refreshing tastes of the hottest season of the year.
Erin Wade, Vinaigrette:
Peach & Burrata Salad with Prosciutto, Corn and Scallions with Honey & Peach Juice Vinaigrette
2 ripe peaches
2 ears corn, shucked and boiled (or you can use raw!)
6 pieces of thin-sliced prosciutto
4 scallions, sliced thin on a bias
2 ovaline of fresh burratta, cut into thirds
3 cups mixed greens
2 cups arugula
Honey & Peach Juice vinaigrette (see below)
Cut each peach into thin slices and place in a bowl, allowing the juices to collect a bit in the bottom—reserve these juices for your vinaigrette. If its not very sweet or ripe, add a touch of sugar to extract some juice and bring out the flavor. Cut the boiled corn off the cobb. Stack the prosciutto and roll into logs, then cut into thin wheels. Allow to slowly unroll but don’t be anal about it they will detach as you toss the salad.
Combine peaches, corn, scallions, greens and prosciutto in a bowl and toss lightly with vinaigrette. Either plate each salad individually by placing a wedge of burrata on each plate, salting and peppering, and accompanying with a pretty mound of salad nestled beside. Or toss all ingredients and plate on a large platter and top with burrata rounds.
Vinaigrette is located at 709 Don Cubero Alley in Santa Fe, 505.820.9205; and 1828 Central Ave. SW in Albuquerque, 505.842.5507. vinaigretteonline.com.
Honey & Peach Juice Vinaigrette
2 shallots, finely diced
1 Tablespoon honey
1 Tablespoon peach juice
1 Tablespoon whole grain Dijon mustard
3 Tablespoon red wine vinegar
1 Tablespoon sherry vinegar (or use all red wine vin if you don’t have sherry)
salt and pepper
½ cup grapeseed oil or safflower oil
Combine all ingredients except for oil in a bowl or a blender, then stream in oil—in a slow and steady stream—until combined.
Angel Estrada, Midtown Bistro:
Chilled Avocado and Cucumber Gazpacho
6 large cucumbers peeled and de-seeded
4 large avocados
1 pound seedless green grapes
1/4 cup fresh basil
1/4 cup fresh mint
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
2 cups fresh lemonade
1 jalapeño de-seeded
2 cups ice cubes
Salt and pepper to taste
In food processor or blender, purée all ingredients until creamy in texture.
Add salt and pepper to taste.
Midtown Bistro is located at 901 W. San Mateo in Santa Fe, 505.820.3121. midtownbistrost.com.