Lavender and Stone Fruit Rosé Sangria

Lavender and Stone Fruit Rosé Sangria

Summer entertaining should be simple, easy, and low stress. It’s just too hot to be mixing individual cocktails, so summer calls for a big batch of something delicious and refreshing that guests can help themselves and sip on as the sun drops lower in the sky. Rosé has become synonymous with summer afternoons and earlier in the season I had the pleasure of creating a recipe for a rosé tasting event at Maman, my favorite café in New York. Talk about a dream come true!

I was only recently introduced to Lillet Rosé by my lovely friends Josie & David, and afterward couldn’t believe I had gone so long without having it in my life. It makes a super simple aperitif – just add a sizable cube of ice and a slice of something citrusy.

Lavender and Stone Fruit Rosé Sangria

Or, take it one step further and transform it into a twist on sangria. Traditionally sangria combines wine with a liqueur or brandy, but since Lillet is already a fortified wine in my variation you get to skip that step. Score. Maman’s Provencal influence provided the inspiration to enhance the flavor by adding lavender and stone fruit. It fits the low-stress bill, and has the added benefit of being even better when it’s made in advance.

Lavender and Stone Fruit Rosé Sangria (serves 4)

Ingredients:
1 bottle (750 ml) Lillet Rosé
3/4 teaspoon (3-4 sprigs) dried culinary lavender buds
1 ripe black plum
1 ripe white nectarine
2 ripe apricots
1 medium lemon
1/4 cup (2 oz.) club soda
Ice
Garnish (optional): fresh raspberries, blackberries, strawberries

Instructions:
Pour the Lillet Rosé into a large pitcher or glass container. Lightly crush the dried lavender flowers between your hands to release the essential oils and place in a tea bell or a piece of cheese cloth tied with kitchen twine and suspend in the wine. Allow the lavender to infuse the wine while you prepare the fruit.

Wash and remove the stone from the plum, nectarine, and apricots. Slice into 1/3 inch wedges and drop into the pitcher. Thinly slice half the lemon (reserve the other half) into rounds or half moons and add to the sangria. Stir gently with a wooden spoon. Chill the sangria overnight, or at least 3-4 hours, to allow the fruit, lavender, and Lillet Rosé to steep.

Just before serving, use a sharp knife to remove large strips of peel from the reserved lemon and wipe the yellow skin of peel around the inside of each glass. Place the ice in the glasses, remove the lavender sachet from the sangria, and add the club soda to the pitcher.

Divide the sangria among the glasses making sure that the fruit goes in too – it’s delicious! Garnish with a sprig of lavender (if using) or additional berries as your heart desires. Relax and enjoy.

Original recipe created for Maman and sponsored by Lillet. All opinions are my own.

Small Kitchen Friendly?
Yes! I used a large pitcher, liquid measuring cup small cutting board, utility knife, wooden spoon, cheese cloth, and kitchen twine.
 

Lavender and Stone Fruit Rosé Sangria
Lavender and Stone Fruit Rosé Sangria

Summer Panzanella Salad with Pesto Vinaigrette

Summer Panzanella Salad with Pesto Vinaigrette  | Image:  Laura Messersmith

Summer Panzanella Salad with Pesto Vinaigrette | Image: Laura Messersmith

This recipe will seem out of place once I tell you that wet bread makes me cringe. An under-cooked piece of French toast, still sodden with eggy custard sends a cold chill up my spine. A cellophane-wrapped sandwich where the tomatoes have seeped into the previously delicious roll? Eww.

Summer Panzanella Salad with Pesto Vinaigrette  | Image:  Laura Messersmith

Summer Panzanella Salad with Pesto Vinaigrette | Image: Laura Messersmith

So, as you might guess, I have avoided panzanella salads like the plague for 99.9% of my life until essentially this moment when I made one myself and discovered that if the bread-to-greens ratio tips slightly in favor of greens, the dressing trends toward a thick sauce, and the croutons are definitively toasted to burnished bronze then I’m good to go.

Only a few terribly specific requirements, oh and if there could be stone fruit involved too? There is? Awesome. This, my friends, is that recipe. An excellent dish for dinner with friends – fresh, light, filling, and gorgeous.

Summer Panzanella Salad with Pesto Vinaigrette  | Image:  Laura Messersmith

Summer Panzanella Salad with Pesto Vinaigrette | Image: Laura Messersmith

Summer Panzanella Salad with Pesto Vinaigrette (serves 4)

Ingredients:
4 cups sourdough bread cubes
4 teaspoons (3 cloves) minced garlic
2 1/2 cups fresh basil leaves, lightly packed
2 lemons
4 cups (1 large bunch) lacinato kale leaves
2 cups cherry tomatoes
2 ripe nectarines
4 ounces fresh mozzarella
olive oil
kosher salt
ground black pepper

Instructions:
Pre-heat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Cut the sourdough into 1/2 inch squares (no need to remove the crusts) and place on a sheet pan lined with parchment paper. Toss with a drizzle of olive oil and a sprinkle of kosher salt. Toast in the oven, turning periodically for 8-10 minutes or until lightly browned and crunchy. Set aside to cool.

Meanwhile, place the garlic cloves and 2 cups of the basil leaves in the bowl of a small food processor. Pulse until a thick paste forms. Scrape the pesto into a bowl or jar and mix with 1/3 cup olive oil and 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice to form a thick dressing. Season to taste with kosher salt and pepper.

Wash the kale leaves, the working with 4-5 at a time, remove the center rib and stack the leaves. Roll lengthwise in a loose cigar shape and slice across the roll in 1/4-1/8” ribbons. Repeat until all the kale is shredded, then toss together with 2 tablespoons of the pesto dressing and the remaining 1/2 cup fresh basil leaves.

Prepare the remaining ingredients. Remove the pits and slice the nectarines in thick wedges, cut the tomatoes in halves or quarters and tear the mozzarella in rough pieces.

In a large, shallow bowl layer the dressed kale and basil leaves with the nectarines, tomatoes, bread cubes, and mozzarella. Dollop the remaining pesto dressing on top and serve!

Inspired by The First Mess’s Summer Panzanella with Peaches and Kale.

Small Kitchen Friendly?
I used a rimmed baking sheet, medium cutting board, bread knife. Small food processor, medium mixing bowl, chef’s knife and tongs.

Summer Panzanella Salad with Pesto Vinaigrette  | Image:  Laura Messersmith

Summer Panzanella Salad with Pesto Vinaigrette | Image: Laura Messersmith