This month we asked BLT Prime’s Executive Chef, Chris Leahy, to prepare a culinary specialty for hot, summer weather and pair it with an Austrian wine. As a participant in the NYC Austria Uncorked Event held in May at Tribeca Rooftop, we were confident his culinary creation would be of elite quality – and we were right!

“Chris Leahy has worked with some of the world’s top culinary talents including Gordon Ramsey, Raymond Blanc, Daniel Boulud and Floyd Cardoz. He met Laurent Tourondel in 2004 and has led the kitchen at BLT Prime since the restaurant opened. Leahy’s cooking straddles the line between fine dining and innovative cuisine.”

Leahy produced a light and refreshing Heirloom Tomato and Watermelon Salad with Thai Chili Vinaigrette and Arugula.

Here’s the recipe:

Candy Ginger Syrup

½ cup Ginger, julienne

1 cup Water

1 cup Sugar

-Bring water and sugar to boil, reduce heat to a simmer and add ginger. Cook the ginger in the simple syrup until tender. Cool and reserve.

Thai Chili Vinaigrette

¼ cup Rice wine vinegar
2 Thai chili brunoise
1 Tablespoon candy Ginger + 1 Tablespoon simple syrup
juice from 1 Lime
½ cup Olive oil
Salt and Pepper

Spicy Feta Cheese
½ c Feta cheese diced
2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
pinch crushed Chili Flakes
¼ teaspoon Dry Oregano
¼ teaspoon fresh picked Thyme

½ cup large diced Yellow Watermelon
½ cup large diced Red Watermelon
3 medium size Heirloom Tomato’s sliced into rounds
½ cup peeled and seeded English Cucumber
1 large dice Avocado sliced
1 teaspoon chiffonade Thai basil
1 Tablespoon thinly sliced Red Onion inside ice water
1 cup Arugula leaves
1 Lime segmented

Combine feta cheese, watermelons, tomatoes, cucumber, avocado, Thai basil, red onion, and lime segments with 3 Tablespoons of the Chili Vinaigrette. Garnish the dish with the arugula leaves.

To match this dish, Leahy suggests the:

Sighardt Donabaum Gruner Veltliner Federspiel 2008, Spitzer Vineyards Wachau, Austria

12.5%abv; trocken

Winemaker’s Tasting Notes: Nice fruit nose of yellow apples, melons and Greengages, light seasoning, pulses, is lower, elegant with a lot of fruit, good substance, tobacco, balanced, good length, beautiful.

Sounds like a perfect pairing to us! Unfortunately neither the Sighardt Donabaum Gruner Veltliner nor the Heirloom Tomato and Watermelon Salad are currently regular’s on BLT Prime’s menu – but that doesn’t mean you can’t make it yourself!

Have you tried it? Let us know!

BLT Prime is located in NYC’s Grammercy neighborhood at 111 East 22nd Street, New York, NY 10010. Tel: (212) 995-8500