Las Vegas chefs create cold dishes for hot summer nights

Luis Montesinos, head chef of Jose Andres’ Jaleo at The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas, remembers a trip to Spain with the culinary lion, who asked him to make gazpacho.

“You brought me to Spain to make gazpacho?” Montesinos mused of the cold soup that’s become almost commonplace.

“That’s where it really hit me,” Montesinos said. “What he wanted was everybody to have a glass of wine and a glass of gazpacho to watch the sunset. Gazpacho’s just refreshing. To me, that’s the quintessential Spanish summertime meal.”

Refreshing is what many of us in sizzling Southern Nevada are looking for at this time of year.

“It’s just tomato, garlic, cucumbers, bell pepper, olive oil and sherry vinegar,” Montesinos said. “Let that marinate for a day. We just puree it and strain it. It’s the easiest thing to do.” He cited the creaminess of the olive oil emulsifying with the other ingredients, which sometimes leads people to ask if the soup contains cream.

“There’s this velvety texture to it,” he said.

The vinegar should have “lip-smacking deliciousness.” During a demonstration at a local market, Montesinos realized their sherry vinegar wasn’t up to snuff, so he sent someone to retrieve a bottle of his favored La Posada. Using really good ingredients is the secret to great gazpacho, he said.

Besides being refreshing, gazpacho requires no cooking. A number of other dishes meet those requirements, and local chefs share their ideas here.

‘It’s very popular’

A Mediterranean version of a cold soup is served at Paymon’s Mediterranean Cafe from the first day of summer until the last.

“It’s very popular and we sell a ton of it,” said president Jeff Ecker, who added that they simply call it Cool Summer Soup.

“The soup base is yogurt, heavy cream and pureed cucumber,” he said. “We add a few spices and top it with crushed walnuts and golden raisins.”

At Forte Tapas, chef/owner Nina Manchev serves a chunky variation on gazpacho, with the addition of chick peas, mini sweet peppers, red onions, mint and basil. She also serves a Bulgarian soup called tarator.

“You can take a nice Greek or Bulgarian yogurt, chopped dill, garlic paste, olive oil and chopped cucumbers, and you add a little water and you mix it up,” she said. “We put chopped walnuts on top. It’s nice and refreshing.”

In her Fetamelon salad, the melon is tossed with toasted sesame seeds, feta, red onion, olive oil and mint.

Watermelon seems to be in hot demand in the summer.

“I’m so simple,” said Barry Dakake, executive chef of Scotch 80 Prime at the Palms. “I love organic, cold, seedless watermelon. And I like to crumble a great Valbreso feta cheese over it and a really nice emulsified red wine vinaigrette. And it’s always great to throw on some nice, crispy Bermuda onion and some chopped, fresh organic mint.”

He also likes cold salads; a classic such as prosciutto di Parma with melon is another good summer choice, he said.

“Toast your own peppercorns and crack it over the melon and add some burrata cheese.”

Couscous, currants and raisins

Cold salads also are a favorite of Mark Sherline, Boyd Gaming executive chef. For soba-noodle salads, he said, “right now I’m doing a spicy peanut sauce — peanut butter, soy sauce and red Thai chile sauce.” He also likes cold couscous salads, made with currants and raisins, seasoned with garam masala.

“I’ll add baby arugula, a really good olive oil, red wine vinegar,” he said. “I’ll do grilled vegetables. Grilled eggplant is so nice, and it’s really easy to put together.”

Bouchon Bistro at The Venetian serves Salade de Tomates, a cold tomato salad.

“It just kind of radiates summer food,” said general manager Aaron Pannell. “We have it every summer.”

At Ferraro’s Italian Restaurant & Wine Bar, chef Francesco Di Caudo said a popular item is classic beef carpaccio, with arugula, shaved Parmigiano Reggiano and truffle oil. He also serves tuna tartare, starting with sashimi-grade bluefin tuna, which is chopped and dressed with cucumber juice and ginger juice. He surrounds the tuna with English, Persian, cucamelon (which look like grape-sized watermelons but taste like cucumber and lime) and lemon cucumbers, and five varieties of strawberries, finishing it with toasted pistachio oil and toasted pistachios.

Miguel Loya, chef of 90 Ninety Bar + Grill at the Suncoast, also likes to serve raw tuna in the summer.

“Right now everybody is going toward the healthy lifestyle,” he said. He marinates the fish in ponzu sauce and serves it over wonton chips topped with tuna, jalapenos, green onion and a spicy aioli.

And he said not to forget the familiar old sandwich.

“Buy some good deli meat — turkey, roast beef, pastrami,” he said. “I’m very traditional; I just like the good old mayo, mustard and a good cheese and that’s it.”

Contact Heidi Knapp Rinella at Hrinella@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0474. Follow @HKRinella on Twitter.

ad-high_impact_4
Entertainment
Artists from Cirque du Soleil contribute art to Las Vegas art exhibit
Artists from Cirque du Soleil contribute art to Las Vegas gallery exhibit
Red Plate on the Las Vegas Strip serves a cocktail made with blooming jasmine tea
Red Plate on the Las Vegas Strip serves a cocktail made with jasmine tea
Benny the Ice Skating Dog
Benny is a Las Vegas Labrador who was rescued by former pro skater Cheryl Del Sanyo, and trained to ice skate. (Mat Luschek/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
The Nevada State Museum
The Nevada State Museum of Las Vegas, located at the Springs Preserve, covers all eras of the state, from prehistoric to today.
Throw a better dinner party
Cash appears at Baseball Winter Meetings
Lights FC mascot Cash plays the electronic drums at the EZ Inflatables’ booth on Tuesday at the Baseball Winter Meetings trade show at Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino.
5 albums to soundtrack your holiday gatherings in style
1. Various Artists, “Holidays Rule," with Rufus Wainwright, The Shins, Calexico and more. 2. Various Artists, “We Wish You a Metal Xmas and a Headbanging New Year," with Lemmy Kilmister, Alice Cooper, Chuck Billy and others. 3. Various Artists, “Christmas on Death Row," featuring Snoop Dogg and Nate Dogg to name but a few. 4. Bright Eyes, “A Christmas Album.” 5. Various Artists, "The Motown Christmas Album." (Jason Bracelin/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Inside the kitchen at Springs Preserve
The staff of Divine Events do party preparation in the kitchen at Divine Cafe at Springs Preserve. With nine parties the following day, this is a particularly busy time for the crew. (Heidi Knapp Rinella/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
WinterFest
WinterFest in Henderson.
Miss Rodeo America Fashion Show
The 28 women contestants of Miss Rodeo America compete in a fashion show at the Tropicana on Dec. 7, 2018.
Tournament Of Kings Holiday Show
Wizards and warriors are ready for the holidays at Excalibur's Tournament of Kings Holiday Dinner Show.
Take a dive with the Silverton mermaids
A visit to the Silverton Casino Hotel is not complete without taking in the popular, and very unique, mermaid show.
Cowboys and western aficionados can buy virtually anything at Cowboy Christmas
Vegas Golden Knights Christmas Display
In the Las Vegas Valley, the chances of getting a white Christmas are slim. But this year, you can have a “Knight” Christmas. A Henderson resident has a Christmas lights display that is synchronized to the entrance music for the Golden Knights. GG Misa’s Knights light show is played every 30 minutes from 5 to 10 nightly. His light show consists of two songs: Mariah Carey’s “All I Want for Christmas Is You” and the entrance music, “Le Castle Vania,” from the movie “John Wick.” The display is located at 730 Bollons Island St. (Richard Brian/Las Vegas Reivew-Journal)
Holiday Hooch At El Cortez is Just in Time For Repeal Day And Christmas
Holiday Hooch At El Cortez Is Just In Time For Repeal Day And Christmas. Janna Karel/Las Vegas Review-Journal
TV's LGBT superheroes
Green Valley Ranch's Winter's Village
The Mob Museum
Best Friend Menu Reveal Wednesday
Chef Roy Choi tells us what to expect from Wednesday’s Facebook Live Menu Reveal for his new Park MGM restaurant Best Friend. (Al Mancini/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Quick Chat With Criss Angel
James D. Gish and Susan Anton rehearse
Susan Anton will be special guest at James D. Gish’s holiday concerts Dec. 7 at Summerlin Library and Dec. 9 at Clark County Library. (John Przybys/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Bellagio Winter Wonderland
"Majestic Holiday Magic" at the Bellagio Conservatory.
Underwater Santa At The Silverton
Santa takes a dive Sunday, December 2, at the Silverton Casino Hotel. (Mat Luschek / Review-Journal)
Cowabunga Bay Christmas Town
Las Vegas Natural History Museum
Las Vegas Natural History Museum, which opened in 1991, has exhibits of mechanical dinosaurs and taxidermied animals, along with live snakes, fish and sharks. (Mat Luschek/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Magical Forest Lights
Cirque Du Soleil Performers Team Up For New Show "Kinekt"
Through dance, acrobatics and aerial arts, “Kinekt” tells a story all too familiar to modern families: how to maintain a human connection in the digital age. (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Ethel M Holiday Cactus Garden
The Pinball Hall of Fame in Las Vegas
The Pinball Hall of Fame was created by Tim Arnold and opened in 2006. (Mat Luschek/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Jump! The Ultimate Dog Show at Springs Preserve in Las Vegas
Trainer Lou “Mack” McCammon guides several rescue dogs through a series of tricks and jumps two shows a day weekends through December at the Springs Preserve in Las Vegas. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
TOP NEWS
News Headlines
Add Event
Home Front Page Footer Listing
Circular
You May Like

You May Like