In France, spring has played hide and seek with us and we didn’t enjoyed it much. Here comes June with its promise of summer, its long evenings when time stretches and the sun never sets. It’s a month that is so full of freedom, it always reminds me of those final school days when we closed our books and finally embraced those relentless vacation days, before everyone else (oddly, it don’t really recall all those years when I was stuck studying until early July, my memory has only kept the best). It’s also the perfect time for those long apéritifs, in the city, at your local spot, or in your own garden. We often go to my parent’s beachhouse during the weekend, I particularly love those moments, in the deck, before dinner. With friends or family, everyone likes to take their time and we always end up eating at the Spanish hour.
I like to prepare some things to nibble at before dinner. I avoid heavy foods, so no saucisson or piles of canapés, and favor raw vegetables, crackers and grains.
Here are some of my favorite “recipes” (they are not recipes per se, just some food combinations I love) for your aperitifs al fresco. I love making some kind of spread, a tzatziki like here or a lemony houmous. We also buy some good quality fish preserves (octopus, anchovy, tuna) or marinated vegetables (sundried tomatoes, artichokes) that I use as is or that I mix to make a fresh salad like I did here. I like to add some local cheese (here sheep’s cheese from the French Pyrénées) with some jam or marinated vegetables. Also, I always throw together a quick trail mix with some organic grains and nuts.
During the summer months, we often drink dry white wine rather than rosé (still hugely popular, but not really our thing). Right now, we are quite found of this pinot grigio from the Alto Adigio (a northern Italy region, near Austria and Switzerland) with citrus and peach notes, perfect for this early summer apéro.
The dishware and boards are from Planète Plage in Biscarrosse.
Herbed tzatziki with Hazelnuts
125g (4.4 oz) of greek yogurt
1/2 cucumber, seeded and diced
1 handful of hazelnuts, chopped
Cilantro and mint leaves, chopped
Juice of 1 lemon
1. Mix the yogurt, cucumber, lemon juice, mint and cilantro. Add Salt and pepper to taste.
2. Serve with the chopped hazelnut and a glug of olive oil.
Octopus Salad with Radishes
1 can of octopus, drained
A dozen of pink radishes, sliced
Juice of 1 lemon
1. Mix the octopus, lemon juice, radishes, some cilantro leaves, salt and pepper.
Sheep’s Cheese Tartines with Sundried Tomatoes
Some good baguette slices
Sheep’s cheese, basque country style or some local hard cheese that you like
1. On each baguette slice, place a slice of cheese and a 1/2 sundried tomato
Salted Trail Mix
100 g of raisins
100 g of mix seeds : sunflower and pumpkin
50 g of walnuts
1/2 cc of fine sea salt
1. Mix everything and serve !