Grill and Chill


I don’t know about you, but as much as I love a rainy day, I’m ready for the sun to warm up our fair city. And with the trees beginning to bloom and that small patch of blue sky showing, I think we finally might be in luck.

When the weather warms, my thoughts always turn to my outdoor kitchen – and new grilling recipes. Recently, we tested some new recipes we’d had developed for our client, Mirassou Winery, and we were blown away by all of the deliciousness emanating from our office kitchen. Mirassou is introducing a new varietal this spring – a Moscato – and, thanks to the imminent arrival of this refreshing new white in California and ten other regions across the U. S., we tasted our way through some innovative food and wine pairings.

Now, typically when you think of Moscato, you think of pairing it with a dessert. After all, it is a sweeter wine. But these recipes feature a spicy, rich flavor that meld perfectly with the refreshing flavors of peach, tangerine, melon and honeysuckle in the wine.

I highly recommend trying the Grilled Chipotle Caesar Salad Wedges (my fave from the tasting), as well as the Crispy Wonton Salmon over Spicy Cabbage Slaw. The salad wedges are not your typical Caesar. They boast sweet cornbread croutons and a delicious smokey flavor, and when paired with the wine – it’s simply an amazing combination.

So, I say, open a bottle of a spring and summer white, and let the grilling begin!

Grilled Chipotle Caesar Salad Wedges
Pair with Mirassou California Moscato

Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: about 30 minutes

3 cups ½-inch cubes of cornbread
1 ½ tablespoons olive oil
½ cup good quality Caesar salad dressing
1 tablespoon each: Mirassou Moscato and
fresh lime juice
1 teaspoon minced chipotle peppers in adobo sauce
1 large head romaine lettuce, cut into 4 wedges
½ cup diced tomato
½ cup crumbled Cotija cheese
Fresh cilantro leaves (optional)

Preheat oven to 375°F. Place cornbread cubes on a baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil; toss lightly to coat. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until golden brown, stirring once or twice. Stir together Caesar dressing, Moscato, lime juice and chipotle peppers in a small bowl; cover and refrigerate until ready to serve. Preheat grill to high, adding wood chips if desired. Brush a small amount of dressing mixture on cut sides of romaine. Place romaine, cut side down on grill. Cook for 3 to 5 minutes or until lightly charred. Place on 4 salad plates and drizzle with remaining dressing. Sprinkle with tomato, cheese, cilantro and cornbread croutons.
Makes 4 servings

Recipe tips:

~Try cooking romaine on a very smoky grill for a little extra flavor
~No grill? No worries! This salad is great without the grilling step
~Puree the whole can of chipotle peppers. Freeze in ice cube trays for future recipes

Mirassou Winery
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