Friday, June 9, 2023

ABRAMS Dinner Party: Gather -- Casual Cooking from Wine Country Gardens...Featuring Cruditès with Avocado Salsa Verde #GatherCookbook #abramsdinnerparty #farmtotablecooking #avocadosalsaverde #summerfood

As Summer settles in, my meals tend to center around healthy, fresh seasonal produce. That's why today's ABRAMS Dinner Party featured cookbook is especially timely! Janet Fletcher's new cookbook Gather -- Casual Cooking from Wine Country Gardens spotlights some of California's most iconic wineries' culinary gardens...and their fresh, wine-friendly dishes.
 The recipes showcase fresh seasonal produce and are gourmet casual...without being fussy. Garden-to-table cuisine is a great way to focus in on using seasonal fruit and veggies at their peak of freshness. I wanted to serve a healthy appetizer for our Memorial Day BBQ meal, so I chose Cruditès with Avocado Salsa Verde from Alexander Valley in Healdsburg -- located in Sonoma County's Wine Country.

Picturesque Grounds at Alexander Valley Vineyards
The winery has five acres of edible gardens onsite, with much of the produce grown made available at the popular Healdsburg Farmers Market. However, the winery's Wetzel family also uses the garden's bounty to create a range of dishes for winery visitors. The fresh 
Cruditès with Avocado Salsa Verde is tangy and mildly spicy. This versatile salsa works great as an appetizer...or as a sauce to top grilled meat and seafood. There are several steps to make this salsa, but it's it's not complicated to make at all. 

Cruditès with Avocado Salsa Verde
from Gather -- Casual Cooking from Wine Country Gardens
Ingredients (makes approx. 1 1/2 cups):
  • 1 1/2 pounds tomatillos, husked and coarsely chopped (about 4 cups)
  • 1 Anaheim OR poblano chile, seeded and coarsely chopped
  • 1 jalapeño, seeded and coarsely chopped
  • 3 whole cloves garlic, peeled
  • 1/2 small white onion, sliced
  • Sea salt
  • 1/2 large avocado, peeled
  • 1 small handful arugula OR baby spinach
  • 1/3 cup coarsely chopped fresh cilantro leaves and stems
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 TBS fresh lime juice
  • For serving: assorted seasonal veggies, boiled eggs, olives, or tortilla chips

Step 1: Preheat oven to 350℉. Put the tomatillos, Anaheim or Poblano chile, jalapeño, garlic, and onion in a 9-by-13-inch baking dish. Stir to mix. Bake, stirring halfway through cooking time, for 1 hour. Let cool slightly.
Step 2: Put cooled ingredients into a blender, add 1/2 tsp. sea salt, and blend until smooth. Set aside 1 cup of this blended salsa mixture, and refrigerate the remainder for another use.
Step 3: Return the reserved 1 cup of salsa to the blender. Add the avocado, arugula OR spinach, cilantro, olive oil, lime juice, and an additional 3/4 tsp. sea salt. Blend until smooth, adding a splash of water if the sauce needs a bit of thinning -- I added about 1/4 cup of water to my salsa. Taste for salt and lime juice and adjust if necessary. Serve immediately...or refrigerate if you plan to serve later in the day.
This vibrant green salsa is incredibly creamy and delicious...perfect for warm-weather dining! It's extra tangy thanks to the use of tomatillos and lime juice, creamy from the addition of avocado and olive oil, and earthy from the addition of cilantro and fresh greens. We loved this salsa with warm tortilla chips...and lower-carb mini sweet peppers. 

This salsa is so easy to make...and economical...that you might not buy tomatillo salsa from the store again. I can't wait to try more great recipes from Gather in the coming months...there are so many delicious recipes featuring seasonal produce to try!

Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of the featured cookbook Gather as part of ABRAMS Publishing's Dinner Party blogging group. As always, all opinions shared are solely my own.


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