Summer cooking is supposed to be easy. And a lot of it is. Not having a grill has been challenging and cooking almost non-stop for over a year has gotten—well, you know. However, there are dishes that work best in the summer and these are some of my favorites:
- Tabouli: I’ve been making this for decades and as soon as the tomatoes start to be good, I’m dicing my way to happiness. It’s not authentic (too much couscous and not enough parsley), but it’s how I’ve always made it.
- Gazpacho: This way of making gazpacho has become a summer favorite. Again, it has to wait until tomatoes are at their peak, but so worth it! Good olive oil is key, so go for the good stuff. I don’t usually have peppers on hand, so pepperoncini or some jarred red peppers work fine. If you usually go for a chunkier gazpacho, try this way and let me know what you think.
- BLT: Nothing better for lunch than perfect tomatoes, crisp lettuce, smoky bacon, and good bread. To make it perfect, now’s the time to make your own mayo.
- Salade Niçoise: When it’s really hot out, boil the eggs and potatoes and steam the beans in the morning so you’re not heating up the kitchen later in the day. If you want to amuse yourself, Google “Salade Niçoise” and see how many versions there are (and arguments for what makes a “proper” one). A roasted salmon and vegetable version is really good too.
- Corn on the cob: If we still had a grill, that was always my favorite way to cook corn. Even without a grill, this salad with corn and optional chorizo is wonderful!
- Steak tartare: For this you need a good butcher and then the rest is up to you. This is usually what goes into mine.
- Pesto: Depending on what’s on hand, it will be just basil, but if there’s lots of arugula, I prefer this version. If it’s going in the freezer, leave out the Parmesan and add it in just before you use it.
- Cold Cucumber Soup: There comes a point every summer when cucumbers start to overwhelm. This is a great use for a bunch of them and all you need to do is drop everything in a blender.
What are some of your summer favorites?