RECIPES: Lighter summer dishes from Central Bistro

Central Bistro invites you to dine, drink and unwind at their bistro where modern French and Italian fare comes to life, using ingredients from local purveyors and farmers.

All items at the bistro are made from scratch daily.

From the handcrafted pastas to brick-oven pizzas to wood-grilled meats and veggies, you'll feel right at home.

With seasonal specials like the Watermelon & Feta Salad, Prosciutto & Melon White Pizza and Vichyssoise, guests can experience the lighter side of summer with a great European flare.

Here are the recipes Chef Hudson Shorter prepared on Wednesday's show:

Watermelon + Feta Salad
1 slice (we use baby "seedless" watermelon, but any watermelon can be used) watermelon
Note: no watermelon is truly seedless. A seedless watermelon will have less seeds, and the seeds that are present will be immature (white seeds vs black seeds).
1 oz feta cheese
1 oz pickled shallots and pickling liquid
Mint to taste
1/2 cup cucumber
1/2 oz red wine vinegar
Ingredients for Pickled Shallots:
7 oz granulated sugar
1 oz pickling spice
24 oz red wine vinegar
1 lb shallots
1. To prepare the pickled shallots, slice shallots into rings. Dissolve sugar in vinegar and add pickling spice. Heat over medium heat for about 10 minutes. Pour mixture over shallots and allow to cool.
2. Slice watermelon into cubes (we leave ours in the rind).

3. Toss feta, shallots (reserve liquid), mint (chiffonade), and cucumber together with a little pickling liquid. Season watermelon with a little salt and pepper, place feta/cucumber/shallot mixture on top of watermelon, drizzle with a little more red wine vinegar and garnish with mint.

Prosciutto & Melon Pizza
Pizza Dough
3-4 oz of low-moisture mozzarella
4oz of prosciutto
3oz of cantaloupe
¼ cup of Balsamic Caviar
.2 oz of agar-agar
4 oz. of balsamic vinegar
¼-1/2 cup of olive oil (depending on how shallow the plate is)

1. Stretch out pizza dough and evenly distribute mozzarella cheese on the dough. Bake until crust is crispy and cheese is melted.Cut into slices and tops each slice with very thinly shaved prosciutto di parma, shaved cantaloupe and balsamic caviar. (Any sweet summer melon like honeydew or Tuscan cantaloupe will work.)
2. To prepare the Balsamic caviar, dissolve agar agar (about .2 oz depending on strength, not all agar is made the same) in 4 oz of balsamic vinegar. Place a shallow dish of olive oil in the freezer for about 30 minutes. When balsamic has reached a boil, turn off the heat and add the agar agar, whisking until it dissolves. Allow the mixture to cool slightly, but still warm, or the agar will set.

3. Using a pipette or squeeze bottle with a very small opening, drop single drops into the chilled olive oil. The beads should set up immediately. If they break when they hit the oil, just reheat the mixture with a little more agar. If the beads end up solid spheres rather than liquid filled beads, reheat the mixture with a little more balsamic.

Milk 32 oz
Leeks 1 each
Idaho Potato 3.5 lbs
Shallot 2.5 oz
Rosemary .25 oz
Thyme .25 oz
Vegetable Oil 2 oz
Onion 1 lb
Garlic 1 oz
Water 40 oz
Dry White Wine 12 oz
Champagne Vinegar 1.5 oz
Heavy Cream 32 oz
1. Heat oil in large pot.
2. Chop leeks, shallot, onion and garlic. Sweat until translucent.

3. Add rosemary and thyme sprigs (either wrapped in cheesecloth or just whole - leaves will come off during cooking and fish the sticks out later). Deglaze with white wine. Add potatoes and water. Boil until potatoes are soft. Add heavy cream. Remove herbs.

4. Blend in batches using a blender, or with an immersion blender. Season to taste - when making a chilled soup, always check for seasoning again before serving as cold soups may need more salt and pepper.) We use white pepper so we don't get little black specks. Stir in champagne vinegar.

4. Pour soup into a shallow dish to cool down, best overnight. When chilled, add milk slowly until soup thins out. Should stick to the back of a spoon but not be chunky. Check seasoning! When ready to serve, garnish with fried potato chips/green onion/fried leeks/etc.
Central Bistro

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