Hi Guys! When it comes to hot summer days, it seems like all we want to do is lay by the pool while sipping cold, refreshing wine-tails and nibbling on quick and easy to prepare bites. Who wants to slave away in the kitchen over a hot stove all day? Not us! So, today we have a couple of easy and delicious appetizer recipes that are great to enjoy while lounging by the pool or anytime you have a snack attack.
The first dish we have is grilled watermelon and queso blanco skewers. We know that watermelon and feta cheese are usually paired together in this type of appetizer, but because we infused the watermelon cubes with the crisp flavor of Ecco Domani Pinot Grigio, we thought the more mild and creamy queso blanco (very similar to a more firm, part-skim mozzarella) was a better alternative. While you’re cooking, it’s important to only allow the skewers to “kiss” the grill on each side for about 15 to 20 seconds. This ensures that your cheese starts to get a little melty but doesn’t turn into stringy mess. You can always swap the queso blanco for a foolproof grilling cheese such as halumi.
Staying with the theme of wine soaked fruits, our second appetizer is a wine soaked cherry and whipped burrata crostini. If there were only one thing we could eat all summer, it would probably be this cherry and burrata dish. The wine infusion draws out some of the natural sweetness of the fruit and adds an unexpected but pleasant tang to the cherries. We also love the anise flavor that the tarragon adds and how it offsets a little bit of the creaminess from the whipped burrata. If you can’t get ahold of burrata, a whole milk ricotta cheese is a great alternative but you will lose some of the richness
One of our favorite things about preparing these appetizers is that the reserved fruit soaked wine is the PERFECT base for some simple and tasty wine-tails. All you need is a splash of tonic water or club soda and lots of ice, then you have yourself delicious wine-tails to sip on while you nosh on grilled watermelon and queso blanco skewers and cherry and whipped burrata crostini! Enjoy!
Grilled Watermelon and Queso Blanco Skewers
Makes 20 pieces
20 (1 inch) cubes watermelon (about 2 cups)
1/2 (750ml) bottle Ecco Domani Pinot Grigio
10 ounces queso blanco (or part skim mozzarella), cut into 1-inch cubes
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
20 small bamboo skewers
warm honey, optional
1. Soak skewers in water for about 30 minutes.
2. Place watermelon cubes in a nonreactive bowl and top with Ecco Domani Pinot Grigio. Allow watermelon to soak for 10 minutes.
3. Drain watermelon (chill reserved liquid, add a splash of tonic water and enjoy as a simple watermelon infused spritzer) and line on paper towels to remove excess liquid.
4. Pierce a piece of watermelon and a piece of cheese onto each skewer until all the food has been used.
5. Heat a grill or grill pan over medium-high heat and brush with a small amount of oil. Once the surface is hot add watermelon and cheese skewers, in batches, only allowing the skewers to kiss the surface for about 15 to 30 seconds before flipping (to make sure the cheese doesn’t melt too much). Quickly remove from heat and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
6. Drizzle skewers with a small amount of honey, if using, and top with micro greens. Serve.
Fresh Cherry and Whipped Burrata Crostini
Serves 8 to 10
1/2 (750 ml) bottle Ecco Domani Pinot Grigio
1/2 pound bing cherries, pitted and quartered
2 sprigs tarragon
1 (6 ounce) ball burrata cheese
2 teaspoons honey
2 teaspoons minced thyme
1 teaspoon minced oregano
1 teaspoon minced mint
salt and pepper to taste
1 French or sourdough baguette, thinly sliced and lightly toasted
1. Place cherry quarters in a nonreactive bowl and top with Ecco Domani Pinot Grigio. Allow cherries to soak for 15 minutes.
2. Drain watermelon (chill reserved liquid, add a splash of tonic water and enjoy as a simple cherry infused spritzer) and line on paper towels to remove excess liquid.
3. Remove leaves from tarragon sprigs and place into a bowl. Add cherries, lightly season with salt and pepper and toss together.
4. For burrata: Place all ingredients into a food processor and process for about 1 minute until burrata is fluffy and smooth (if you don’t have a food processor, place all ingredients into a bowl and beat together with a wooden spoon until light and fluffy).
5. To assemble: Spread a small amount of whipped burrata onto each crostini and top with a scoop of the soaked cherries. Lightly season with salt and pepper and serve.