Chef Harris likes to serve these macerated berries in individual ramekins alongside a bloomy-rind cheese like Sweet Grass Dairy Green Hill from Thomasville, Georgia.
In a large bowl, combine the berries. Pour the vinegar over the berries, and stir in the sugar, to taste, and the salt. Fold in the chopped mint. Cover and allow the mixture to macerate for several hours before serving.
By Jenny Harris, executive chef at Tria in Philadelphia
Photography by Alison Miksch
A slice of advice for would-be cheese retailers from a veteran monger
It is my duty as a cheesemonger to protect my beloved trade from those who would enter it willy-nilly, without sufficient preparation or a clear understanding of its rigors. Be warned: operating a reputable cheese shop is serious business. It is not for dabblers and dilettantes seduced by its glamour and romance.
Other summer berries may be substituted; the sweet mascarpone sauce complements any fruit flavor.
THE PUDDING: In a small mixing bowl, whisk together the egg, egg yolk, and milk. Stir in confectioner’s sugar and salt and set aside. In a separate bowl, combine the cubed ciabatta, berries, and lemon zest. Pour the egg mixture over the bread and berries, cover the bowl, and refrigerate for at least an hour.
Named from the words barbecue and raclette, the Barbaclette is a new gadget from Bosca Holland designed for grilling raclette (or any cheese) on the barbecue, drip-free. For centuries, the Swiss tradition of raclette has remained fundamentally intact: a wheel of raclette is placed over fire and, as it melts, the cheese is scraped onto a plate of cooked potatoes and pickles. The Barbaclette, designed to melt single slices of cheese at a time rather than an entire wheel, takes this tradition to a decidedly modern level of efficiency. Shaped like a deep spatula, with a mobile rosewood handle and a stainless-steel frame, the Barbaclette is a safe, convenient grilling accessory that makes a myriad of oozy outdoor cheese dishes possible. Potatoes and pickles are optional.
This time of year, when figs are at their peak, try using sliced fresh figs in place of the jam, and slip in a few leaves of fresh basil for good measure. Or give the panini an American spin by substituting the prosciutto with softly cooked bacon—this is the time to break out the artisanal stuff. Salty and chewy, creamy and sweet, this simple sandwich is all of that and more.
Split each roll, and layer with the mozzarella, then the prosciutto, and finally the basil. Spread the top slices of bread with the fig jam, and close up the sandwiches. Lightly butter the outside of each sandwich.
Continuing the civilized tradition of handsome picnic carriers, the Picnic Time Pioneer basket is made of rattan and canvas with a leather-wrapped handle, a double lid, two front pockets, and a water-resistant base. It’s outfitted with a luncheon set for two including wine glasses, a cutting board, a cheese knife, and a corkscrew, as well as a four-by-five-foot picnic blanket and plastic storage container.
It’s hard to improve on the classic Caprese salad of fresh mozzarella, farm-ripe tomato, fragrant fresh basil, and a drizzle of olive oil and salt—but as this recipe shows, it may be remodeled into easy finger food for a party. Serve these little nibbles on a bed of sliced yellow tomatoes or roasted yellow peppers for a stunning presentation. But, of course, they are more than tempting on their own too.
Drain the ciliegine and pat dry. Toss them with the pesto to coat generously. Set aside at least half an hour to allow the flavors to meld.
Cut the tomatoes crosswise in half. Thread each toothpick with half a tomato and one pesto-coated ciliegine. Serve, if desired, on a bed of roasted yellow peppers or simply present as is; they’ll disappear promptly either way.
To add beauty and practicality to your next cheese-enhanced picnic, pack up this butter/soft cheese board and spreader duo, both delicately crafted by Jonathan and Julia of Moonspoon. Made from cherrywood, this seven-inch board and accompanying rounded-edge spreader come in ten unique patterns, each carved to emulate shapes and shadows cast by moonlight.
Adapted from The Cheese Lover’s Cookbook & Guide (Simon & Schuster, 2000) by Paula Lambert
It amazes me that more omelets and frittatas aren’t made with mozzarella—it’s wonderful with eggs. This recipe uses both fresh and smoked versions to bring some depth and complexity to the tomatoes, and asparagus. If you’d like, add another layer of flavor by grilling the asparagus: lightly brush it with olive oil first, then cut it into 1-inch pieces and stir it into the sautéed onion mixture.
When it comes to en plein air dinnerware, we often sacrifice charm for durability. Fortunately, the Golden Rabbit Enamelware company offers pastel blue and green damask-patterned, enameled dishes that look good and last long. Dishwasher safe and equipped with extra protection in the form of stainless-steel rims, these plates, platters, and bowls are all you need for low-maintenance, outdoor style. Just add the deck chairs!