When it’s too hot to cook, everyone wants cool, easy meals and snacks to nosh with refreshing wines. Here are seven “no recipe” dishes to make at home starring cheeses that can be purchased at Texas favorite, Antonelli’s Cheese Shop.
“Light summer wines like sparkling, rosé and crisp whites are a natural with cheese,” says store co-owner Kendall Antonelli. The shop, located in Austin’s cute Hyde Park neighborhood and packed with goodies, offers curbside pick-up and shipping, plus fun virtual cheese tastings worth signing up for.
Summer isn’t summer without a caprese salad, the Italian-born classic featuring burrata, homegrown tomatoes, fresh basil, a pinch of sea salt and drizzle of quality olive oil. Try the Mozzarella di Bufala from Calabro Cheese as your main player, sliced and garnished.
Wine Pairing: Inglenook, Napa, 2018 sauvignon blanc—fresh and racy with notes of lemon zest.
Just two ingredients needed to prepare these beautiful Hill Country peaches stuffed with Chipotle Peach Chevre, a seasonal goat’s milk cheese made in Blanco by CKC Farms. The inventive and delicious cheese is blended with peaches and smoked chipotle peppers. Talk about peachy keen!
Wine Pairing: Fizzy, palate-scrubbing and a touch fruity, sparkling rosé from Mumm Napa hits the spot.
PESTO DRIZZLED PANZANELLA SALAD
When your small group is hanging by the pool (lucky if you have one!), this casual salad approach is handy. Start with creamy blobs of Calabro Burrata from Italy. Pile on steamed asparagus, cherry tomatoes, rolled prosciutto, torn artisan bread and drizzle with basil pesto. Dig in!
Wine Pairing: 2018 Provence AIX rosé—bone-dry and mouth-watering with floral/strawberry aromatics.
LUSCIOUS VEGETARIAN SANDWICH
If you can slice a veggie, you can make a Whipped Feta Toast as beautiful as this one served at DrinkWell in Austin. Layer the toast with decadent whipped feta from Bee Tree Farm, sliced zucchini, purple radishes, snap peas, and lemoned herbs. Meatless never tasted so marvelous.
Wine Pairing: 2018 Lail Vineyards Blueprint sauvignon blanc. Ripe honeydew melon and nectarine flavors mingle with generous vibrancy. Or go local with Texas Keeper cider (several styles to choose).
PROSCIUTTO AND MELON PALATE CLEANSER
Here’s a juicy mid-morning snack or first course when the temps are soaring. Slice chilled melon wedges and simply wrap with La Quercia prosciutto from Antonelli’s Cheese Shop. Garnish with fresh spinach leaves or fresh herbs.
Wine Pairing: Invigorating bubbles carry the salty-fruity aspect of the dish. Ferrari Brut (100% chardonnay) made in the Trentino-Alto Adige region of northern Italy is a stellar match.
SMOKED SALMON BAGEL
Instead of the typical cream cheese on a bagel, Kendall Antonelli suggests you replace it with healthier, fresh sheep or goat milk cheese from Green Dirt Farm. It’s richer and more balanced with a tangy flavor that marries well with lox or salmon.
Wine Pairing: Szigeti Brut Nature, Austria. Bone-dry and sparkling, this natural wine cuts through the fat that we all love in lox and bagels.
INDULGENT STEAK SALAD
Grill a little extra steak to assemble a hearty steak and blue cheese wedge salad. It’s a great candidate for a large sharable salad bowl tossed with chopped tomatoes, iceberg, sliced steak and Baby Blue goat’s milk chunks from CKC Farms in Blanco, Texas.
Wine Pairing: Plays well with light reds like pinot noir, grenache, and Lambrusco. Uncork the Gary Farrell 2017 Fort Ross-Seaview pinot noir—complex layers smacking with cranberry and ripe strawberry notes.
BUY THE WINES:
Houston Wine Merchant, Spec’s, Total Wine & More. *Note: Houston Wine Merchant is open for curbside pick-up and delivery only. If you can’t find the bottle you’re looking for, they will do a search and special order it if possible.
Cover photo courtesy Kate LeSueur
Robin Barr Sussman (firstname.lastname@example.org) is a freelance culinary and travel writer who studied at the Culinary Institute of America Greystone, Calif. As a chef for Sonoma County wineries, her specialty was food and wine pairing. Sussman has had columns in Houston Modern Luxury Magazine, Prime Living and Houston House & Home. Her work also appears in Texas Monthly, Fodor’s and Private Clubs Magazine.