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Thursday, June 24, 2010

The First Fruits Of Summer

We had a little cookout the other night.  Just the two of us on our back deck.  It was hot with a slight misty rain that  helped cool the air and soften the heat..  It was a routine cookout with barbecued  brined chicken slathered in a molasses based sticky sauce grilled until slightly charred and caramelized. My favorite part of barbecued chicken is the sauce candy that forms on the crisp skin when cooked over flames. Smoky sweetness. The chicken was very moist from the brine and sweet from the molasses-brown sugar based basting mop. A few  fresh pineapple shards thrown onto the grill to char alongside the chicken  provided an interesting sweet and smoky fruit acidity that totally complimented the chicken. 

The stars of our cookout were the side dishes. I grilled bacon-wrapped corn until poppingingly tender and slathered them with lime butter, hickory smoked salt, freshly ground pepper, and shreds of reggiano cheese.  The lime zest/juice infused butter gave a bright tartness to the buttery bacon fat kernels and helped cut through  the sweetness and richness of the smoke bathed chicken. As the lime specked butter melted through the corn shafts onto the plate, it mixed with the barbecue sauce creating fantastic sweet and sour flavor pools. The swirled puddles were great for dipping bread, swiping chicken meat, and licking. Uh huh, I licked the plate.  Clean.
I plucked  fresh heirloom tomatoes from one of our tomato plants and halved them. Principe Burghese Heirlooms are small red plum-shaped tomatoes that are quick to ripen. The first fruits of summer that we have patiently watched slowly ripen to bright red. Our lazy hazy backyard barbecue was the ideal time to eat them still warm from the sun. Tiny, tender, plump, juicy, and sweet. Nothing better than just picked fresh tomatoes. Nothing.

Welcome summer!  You may now officially begin.

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