Summer is an ideal time to savor the vibrant flavors of Mexican food, and this menu takes advantage of seasonal produce for an effortless yet festive meal. Get the party started off by serving guests tequila cocktails. Whet their appetites with two salads, each making the most of summer’s bountiful produce. Serve a showstopping fish for the main course, then end the evening on a sweet note with a riff on a classic Mexican dessert.
Follow our menu suggestions and timeline, which makes sure to leave plenty of room to take your time as you prep. Don’t forget the Latin music!
Get the party started off by serving guests classic margaritas—a traditional accompaniment to Mexican fare—or mix things up by serving Palomas made from freshly squeezed grapefruit juice.
Alongside the cocktails, serve something crispy and salty, like tortilla chips with our test kitchen’s favorite guacamole. Start off the sit-down meal with not one but two summer salads, each of which brings something to the meal. Corn, Avocado and Tomato Salad is savory and creamy, while another starring watermelon and jicama is sweet and thirst-quenching. Both add bold color and flavor to the table.
The main course, Banana-Leaf Grilled Fish with Coconut-Cilantro Sauce, is an unexpected headliner that’s particularly impressive when presented at the table. End the meal on a sweet note with a cake that boasts sticky, creamy dulce de leche between its layers.
- 2 days ahead: Bake the vanilla chiffon cake; allow it to cool, then store it in an airtight container. Strip corn.
- 1 day ahead: Transfer banana leaves from the freezer to refrigerator to thaw (if frozen). Make the coconut-cilantro sauce.
- Day of: Tie the fish fillets in banana leaves using kitchen twine. Make the frosting for the cake; fill and frost the cake. Sauté corn and prep salads.
- Just before serving: Shake classic margaritas and/or Palomas. Grill the fish packets and serve.
Make this one a relaxed outdoor get-together. Skip formal linens and china in favor of colorful melamine dinnerware that still feels of faraway. We love the eye-catching look (and sturdy quality) of Ikat melamine dinnerware on top of Link melamine plates and chargers. Serve margaritas in DuraClear margarita glasses and Palomas in DuraClear Old-Fashioned glasses.
Garnish the table with freshly-picked flowers or herbs from the garden placed in simple clear glasses. Succulents also make an easy, cheerful addition. Make it an all-day event! Turn up the tunes, and be sure to have lawn games or cards at the ready for impromptu fun in between grilling and dining.
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