Monday, August 03, 2009
Summertime means fresh fruit and vegetables, their odors filling the house with the freshness of life. Even despite a ridiculously rainy season, the farmers markets are full of vibrant colors and odors, all vying for our attention. The fantastic basil, above, has made my fridge smell so good that I want to curl up in it and spend the day there.
The corn is insanely sweet, and what better way to enjoy it than by mixing it with the basil, some lovely shallots, and fresh scallops? Sauteed quickly in a pan, they make an amazing first course.
A young, lively white Burgundy was a perfect match for this, the acidity cutting through the sweetness of the corn and scallops and cleansing the palate.
What of the other vegetables? No, I haven't forgotten them either, they get chopped up into little squares, quickly browned in some olive oil, then tossed into a big pan all together. Simmered for about an hour, they turn into a huge, multi-colored, fantastic-smelling mass of summery goodness. Based on a recipe from Southern France, this ratatouille is a pure definition of summer. As in the movie, the aromas bring back memories of youth and more care-free days.
Of course, I wasn't drinking as well when I was younger. An elegant yet meaty, bacony, olivey 1989 Gonon St Joseph "les Oliviers" was a lovely counter-point to the rustic nature of the lemon confit, olive oil and thyme-marinated rack of lamb and ratatouille. The evening was a celebration of the season and its gifts, a gentle reminder of how generous Mother Earth can be sometimes.