The Summeriest Salad
Besides ones from my own home state of California, the wines that I find myself probably sipping most come from our neighbor to the north — Oregon.
Especially because Pinot Noir happens to be one of my favorite varietals, and grows exceedingly well there.
So, I couldn’t have been more overjoyed to see a new cookbook that highlights not only Oregon’s more than 50-year-old wine industry, but its rich food traditions found at its storied wineries.
The book spotlights 40 of Oregon’s top wineries, with two signature recipes from each one that each come with a wine pairing.
There’s a timeline outlining the growth of the state’s wine industry, one that’s still burgeoning, having grown from 605 wineries in 2013 to 1,058 in 2021. You’ll learn all about Oregon’s most important grape-growing regions, and — not surprisingly — how Pinot Noir is the leading variety planted by far.
Rev your appetite with “Corn Soup with Dungeness Crab and Roasted Apple Relish” from Adelsheim Vineyard, “Braised Duck Legs with Wild Rice” from Alexana Winery and Vineyard, “Fry Bread Beef Tacos with Cilantro Crema” from Brooks Wine, and “Italian Nut Macaroons” from Remy Wines.
Having lived in Portland for a summer when I interned at The Oregonian, and having traveled through various regions of Oregon in recent years, I was tickled to see some of the wineries I’ve visited included in this book.
Among them is Abbey Road Farm, where I was fortunate to stay last year in its unique bed-and-breakfast fashioned out of converted grain silos.
The 82-acre property is a special place to stay, not only because of its on-site winery and tasting room, but also for its adorable menagerie of 40-plus chickens (all named Betty); goats that are named after strong females, such as Audrey (Hepburn) and Linda Carter (aka Wonder Woman); five pigs including the largest named Hammy; an adorable black alpaca named Indigo and a white one named Magnolia; mini donkeys; peacocks; and the chief protector of them all, Abigail Grace, a Pyrenees.
What’s more, your stay there includes a five-course gourmet breakfast prepared by Chef Will Preisch. He sports an impressive pedigree, having staged around the world, including at revered Noma in Copenhagen and Manresa in Los Gatos. He also worked in Portland at celebrated Le Pigeon. His Holdfast Dining, an intimate tasting menu-only supper club in Portland, was acclaimed for its creative fare before shuttering during the pandemic.
His superlative “Chicken and Waffles with Maple-Sherry Glaze and Parmesan,” which I had the pleasure of enjoying on the farm, is one of the featured recipes in the Abby Road Farm chapter.
The other is “Summer Bean Salad with Stone Fruits and Peppers,” a natural given the farm’s bountiful chef’s garden.
It’s a salad that is a riot of eye-popping colors; crisp and juicy textures; and sweet, tangy, grassy, herbaceous, and spicy flavors.
It’s a little reminiscent of Thai fruit salads that combine that type of freshness and natural sweetness with the liveliness of chili.
In this case, the hit of heat comes from yuzu koshu, a fermented Japanese chile paste made with yuzu. You can use either the red or green varieties. I went with the green, made with unripe yuzu, which is pretty tingly spicy with a forefront of floral, lemon-y citrus.
It gets tamed, though, when mixed with roasted stone fruit (your choice of peaches, plums, apricots or nectarines) that get pureed in a blender with a splash of vegetable oil and apple cider vinegar. The resulting puree has the creamy consistency almost of a fruit smoothie.
A big dollop of the puree goes down on the bottom of a serving platter. Blanched beans (a variety of Romano, green beans, yellow wax beans, in whatever combination you like) gets tossed with grated ginger and garlic before being arrayed overtop.
A mix of peppers, such as Jimmy Nardellos and red bell peppers, gets sauteed on the stovetop. I added a few of my homegrown Padron peppers to the mix. And while the recipe instructs to slice the Jimmy Nardello peppers into strips, I kept them whole because I love their long, curvy, dramatic red presence. But feel free to go either way.
The sauteed peppers are added to the platter, along with fresh basil leaves and toasted sesame seeds. I added a final sprinkle of salt over everything, which I noted in the directions below.
The recipe says it serves 4 to 6. But it’s a quite substantial salad (what you see on the plate pictured is less than half the recipe). I think it serves more like 6 to 8, so I changed that in the recipe, as well.
You can make the puree and blanch the beans ahead of time, keeping both refrigerated until ready to assemble.
This salad is absolutely gorgeous, and ideal with a glass of refreshing rosé. Full-on fruity, peppery, and just a little spicy, it grabs major attention, and epitomizes the very best of summer.
Abbey Road Farm’s Summer Bean Salad with Stone Fruits and Peppers
(Serves 6 to 8)
2 pounds summer beans, such as Romano, wax beans, green beans, purple string beans (the more colors and textures, the better), ends trimmed
2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil, plus extra to taste
1 teaspoon grated ginger, plus extra to taste
1 teaspoon grated garlic, plus extra to taste
For stone fruit puree:
2 cups sliced ripe stone fruits, such as peaches, plums, apricots, or nectarines
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
2 teaspoons yuzu kosho (see Note)
1 pound Italian frying peppers, such as Jimmy Nardello, or red bell peppers, seeded and deveined
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 to 3 ripe stone fruits, such as peaches, plums, apricots, or nectarines, pitted and thickly sliced
10 to 20 leaves basil, torn into bite-size pieces, for garnish
1 tablespoon toasted white and/or black sesame seeds, for garnish
To make the summer beans: Sort the beans by type. Bring a large saucepan of water to a boil over high heat and salt generously. Set a bowl of ice water nearby. Working with one variety of bean at a time, add to the pan and blanch for 1 to 2 minutes, until tender-crisp. You want the beans to have some snap to them, but not be raw or starchy. Using a slotted spoon or tongs, transfer beans into the ice water to stop the cooking. Drain beans and pat dry.
In a large bowl, combine beans, oil, ginger, and garlic, and toss. Salt to taste and add more oil, ginger, or garlic if desired to make the flavors pop.
To make the stone fruit puree: Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Add fruit to the prepared baking sheet, drizzle oil on top, and season lightly with salt, Roast for 15 to 20 minutes, until fruit is softened and caramelized in places.
Scrape fruit and all juices and oil from the baking sheet into a blender and puree. Add vinegar and yuzu kosho and blend until smooth.
To assemble: Slice peppers into long strips.
Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add peppers and saute for 2 to 3 minutes, until blistered and tender.
Spread 1/4 cup of stone fruit puree in the bottom of a wide serving bowl. Arrange beans, peppers, and stone fruit slices on top, spacing them apart so that the salad is plated in a light and airy manner. Garnish with basil leaves, a sprinkle of sesame seeds, and a final pinch of salt.
Wine pairing: Abbey Road Farm Trousseau Gris Rosé
Note: Yuzu kosho is a Japanese fermented seasoning paste, made with chiles, yuzu peel, and salt. There are two types: tart green, which uses unripe yuzu and chiles, and the more savory red, which uses ripe yuzu and chiles. Either will work in this dish. Look for yuzu kosho at Asian markets.
Adapted from “Oregon Wine & Food” by Danielle Centoni and Kerry Newberry
More Danielle Centoni Cookook Recipes: Aebleskiver with Lemon Curd