Several days ago my mother kindly informed me that I would be preparing dinner for some of their friends. This time constrained news sent me into a planning frenzy. Luckily, I was informed that Tom, a good friend of my parents who happens to be a phenomenal cook and sincere food lover, would be grilling the main dishes leaving me in charge of only the side dishes and dessert. Whew.
After speaking with Tom about what he would be grilling I started to pull some things together. I knew I wanted some late summer veggies, a lot of color, and things that would go well with some steak and grilled seafood. Flavor was also on the list. Obviously.
And so...this is what we ended up with:
the appetizers - Spicy Grilled Portobello Mushrooms plus a Shrimp and Avocado Salsa
the sides - Zucchini and Mint Gazpacho with Radish Salsa, Lobster and Apple Summer Salad, Baked Summer Tomatoes, and Cheesy Garlic Biscuits
the "meats" - Grilled Swordfish, Filet, and Garlic Shrimp
the sweet stuff - Toasted Coconut Cream Pie
Not too shabby, right?
As it should be completely obvious...we feasted. However, I managed to take a few pictures before everyone started digging in just so I could share with you. Feeling special?
The first one I'm going to share is the gazpacho.
Because I absolutely adored it. It was light. Refreshing. Eye-popping colors. Great flavor. And it was my first attempt at a non-tomato gazpacho. I'm sold.
Adapted from Coastal Living Magazine
Makes: 4-6 servings Prep Time: 15 minutes Chill Time: 1 hour Total Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
1 pound zucchini, cut in half lengthwise and sliced
1/3 cup green onions, sliced
1/4 cup fresh mint leaves, plus more for garnish
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
1 slice bread, torn into pieces (I used ciabatta)
1 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 cup olive oil, divided
3/4 cup water
1/2 cup radish, finely chopped
1 tablespoon red onion, finely chopped
1 tablespoon chives, finely chopped
1 tablespoon cilantro, finely chopped
1. Combine first 8 ingredients with 3 tablespoons olive oil and 3/4 cup water in a blender. Puree until smooth. Taste and adjust seasoning if needed. Cover and chill for 1 hour.
2. Combine radish and the next 3 ingredients in a small bowl. Add remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil, tossing to coat. Pour gazpacho into bowls and top with radish salsa. Garnish with mint leaves or fresh chive. Serve immediately.