from the kitchen: August Summer Menu

We're right in the middle of summertime, and it sure has been a beautiful season here in Sonoma! The days are continuing to grow warmer and the nights longer. As August begins to near a close, we'd like to continue our celebration of the season by releasing to you our August Summer Menu.

The second in our summer menu series, this dinner menu includes recipes for a Burrata, Heirloom Tomatoes & Basil salad, Provençal Petrale Sole, and a Black Mission Fig Clafouti. Plus, did you know that August 31st is National Eat Outside Day? So gather up your friends and family, stock up on your ingredients, and plan to enjoy this fun summer meal, patio-style!

Bite: Burrata, Heirloom Tomatoes & Basil

Enriched with cream, burrata is a velvety cheese that pairs perfectly with the ripest tomatoes and artisan sea salt. Grab a crusty loaf, a handful of fresh basil leaves, and some aged balsamic vinegar and you are all set!

Serves 6



8 medium assorted heirloom tomatoes, cored and sliced into 1-inch wedges

12 fresh basil leaves, torn into 1-inch pieces

3/4 pound burrata cheese, pulled into 1/2-inch chunks

3/4 cup high-quality extra-virgin olive oil

1 tablespoon Maldon Sea Salt

To make:

Place an assortment of the heirloom tomato wedges on a serving platter. Loosely cover the tomatoes with the burrata and the basil. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt right before serving.

Meal: Provençal Petrale Sole

What makes this dish so delicious is the vinaigrette. The combination of olives, capers, tomatoes, fennel, and fresh herbs makes a refreshing sauce for this delicate fish. Castelvetrano olives have been in the spotlight for the past few years. They are harvested early, and becuase of that these olives are bright green in color and have a very wonderful fresh flavor similar to Olio Nuovo (fresh olive oil). If you are unable to find these olives, another fresh green olive can be substituted.

Serves 6



1/2 fennel bulb, shaved thinly

1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

2 tablespoons lemon zest

1 orange, segmented

10 Castelvetrano olives, pitted and halved

10 oil-cured black olives, pitted and halved

1 red pepper, roasted, peeled, and diced

2 tablespoons fresh thyme leaves

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

Salt and pepper to taste

1/2 cup all-purpose flour

Blended oil, for cooking

6 pieces Petrale sole (5 ounces each)

To make:

In a bowl toss the fennel, lemon juice, zest, orange segments, olives, red pepper, thyme, and olive oil together. Season to taste and set aside. Let the mixture sit at room temperature for 1 hour to let the flavors meld.

Season the flour well with salt and pepper and spread it over a flat dish. Lightly dust the sole with the flour. Place a large sauté pan over high heat. In several batches, heat the blended oil in a sauté pan and sear the sole until brown, about 2 minutes per side. Turn the fish over and repeat.

To serve:

Place one piece of sole in the center of each plate and top with a few tablespoons of the vinaigrette.

Dessert: Black Mission Fig Clafouti

A clafouti is a traditional French dessert that can be prepared with a wide variety of fruit. When fresh figs are available we use them in our clafouti, but during the off-season we use dried Black Mission figs from our friends at Valley Fig Growers in California.

Serves 6 to 8


For the clafouti:

1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour

1 1/3 cups sugar

Pinch of salt

2 1/2 cups whole milk

1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted

6 tablespoons Armagnac or brandy

8 large eggs

12 fresh figs, halved (1 cup rehydrated dried figs, quartered, can be substituted)

For the caramel sauce:

1 cup sugar

6 tablespoons unsalted butter

1/2 cup heavy cream

Powdered sugar, for garnish

To prepare the clafouti:

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Butter a 9-inch cake pan and set aside. Sift together the flour, sugar, and salt in a large bowl. Form a well and using a fork, mix in the milk, melted butter, Armagnac, and eggs. Beat until smooth and strain through a fine-mesh sieve.

Place the figs face down in the cake pan and cover with the clafouti mixture. Bake for 45 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the middle of the clafouti comes out clean.

To prepare the sauce:

Heat the sugar in a stainless-steel pan over medium-high heat and stir occasionally until the sugar turns brown, about 5 to 7 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat, add the butter, and whisk until the butter has melted. Add the cream and continue to stir constantly until the cream is completely incorporated. (Makes about 1 cup)

To serve:

Slice the clafouti into 6 slices and transfer each slice to a plate. Drizzle each slice with the caramel sauce and dust with powdered sugar. You can also warm the clafouti in a low oven before serving.

For more summer recipes & dinner menu inspirations for every season, grab yourself a copy of Sondra Bernstein's Plats du Jour cookbook, here.

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