This time of year it is all about friends, family, and fun in the sun! When entertaining during the warm summer months, I try not to spend too much time in the kitchen. It's the perfect excuse to fire up the grill or even find recipes that can be prepared in advance and enjoyed at room temperature. These light and bright summertime recipes all pair perfectly with a chilled glass of white wine. What are you waiting for? Let's throw a "Summer Whites" party!
Start off the party with this Grilled Panzanella Salad. The secret to this salad is the slight char on grilled day-old bread. I love to pair this dish with Edna Valley Chardonnay to bring out the oaky qualities of this medium-bodied white wine. Roasted red peppers, yellow tomatoes, and fresh green basil bring bursts of color to the salad. Everything comes together when tossed with a simple balsamic vinaigrette and a flourish of grated Asiago cheese on top.
Since you've already opened up a bottle of Edna Valley Chardonnay, you can also pair it with this bright and decadent pasta dish. I love making this Orzo with Lemon, Brie, and Toasted Pine Nuts for parties because it is best when prepared in advance and served at room temperature. Lemon zest and juice add zing while golden raisins offer a hint of sweetness to the dish. I love how the cubes of Brie cheese really highlight the classic buttery finish of the Chardonnay. When you are ready to serve, add basil chiffonade for a burst of color, and finish it all off with a few twists of freshly ground black pepper.
Pizza is always a crowd pleaser, and this recipe can be cut into small squares and enjoyed as a passed appetizer. I love to serve this Brussels Sprouts and Pancetta Pizza with a zesty white wine with a mineral edge, such as Dry Creek Vineyard Fumé Blanc. The lemon-lime citrus notes and clean, pure finish is the perfect addition to a Summer Whites party. Everyone loves Brussels sprouts (one of the trendy ingredients of the moment) along with crisp pancetta in this easy yet elegant pizza.
A backyard barbecue just isn't complete without hot dogs! This recipe takes the summertime classic to a whole new level. Inspired by Chilean street food, these Loaded Completo Hot Dogs are piled high with onions, tomatoes, avocado, and mayonnaise. Keeping with the South American theme, Santa Rita 120 Sauvignon Blanc makes for an elegant Chilean white wine pairing.
The final recipe to serve at a Summer Whites party is a real showstopper. A seasonal take on the classic white pizza, this Grilled Ramps Pizza is guaranteed to wow your guests. Both the white roots and the green leaves of wild, foraged ramps are used in this dish. When ramps aren't in season, thin green onions can be substituted. I think this pizza pairs well with a dry, medium-bodied white wine, such as the Sicilian Insolia from Feudo Principi di Butera.