With the summer solstice in the rearview mirror, it’s time to think about no-cook, cooling everything. That includes, ironically enough, grilling. (It’s leagues better than a hot stove. Let the cold thing be the beer in your hand!) The grill sits outside, waiting for us all the long winter, and promising ease and speed. Here are the summer recipes we love when the mercury rises. There’s something to quench your thirst, something sweet, and a couple of vegetarian options. Ahhh. You’ll make it through the hot months in style and satiated, to boot.
Mint grows like wild this time of year, and is particularly aggressive, as gardeners know. Take advantage, and trim it back down to size! Consider cool cocktails featuring the sprightly stuff. We love a mojito, featuring just light rum, seltzer, sugar and plenty of mint. It’s just the thing to start off a summertime meal right.
This succotash might look a tad tricky at first blush. It’s so not. It’s just a matter of remembering to toss peaches on to the grill with the corn. (Yes, that’s as delicious as it sounds!) We like that it employs a bevy of veggies as well as stone fruit. There are green beans, cherry tomatoes, and corn hot off the cob, all happily mingling with fresh basil and balsamic vinegar. Truly summer in a bowl.
Think of the pleasure a good pico de gallo spiked with plenty of lime and cilantro gives you. Or watermelon, cubed and cold. This salad marries those two Platonic ideals of summertime dishes. It’s got jicama, a satsifyingly crunchy piece of produce, plus watermelon, lime, cilantro, mint, basil, red onion and a flurry of crunchy pumpkin seeds on top. It’s just what you want alongside a burger or hot dog.
Ever tried piri piri sauce? Then you know it’s a slow-burning, addictive substance that hails from Portugal. Redolent of chiles and bell peppers, garlic and herbs, it’s just the thing to add acid and heat to grilled chicken. We adore this recipe, in which you blitz your own sauce in a food processor, but you can just as easily marinate using storebought piri-piri, in a pinch.
As is true of a great green goddess dressing, charmoula is a sauce you’ll start spooning on to everything once you’ve had a taste of its charms. It loves roasted potatoes, pita wedges and even omelets just as much as it likes a good grilled steak. Since it packs a full three cups of cilantro and parsley, it’s also just the thing to make with summer’s bounteous fresh herbs. Plenty of ginger and garlic, smoked paprika and cumin add bright and earthy notes, respectively.
‘Tis the season for everything to come up sparkling. Champagne, seltzer, and even blueberry lemonade are on our list. There’s just something so darn cooling about bubbles. This elixir features a beautiful mint syrup that you could also use for mojitos, juleps or strawberry lemonade. (It’s so good!) From there, it’s as simple as adding lemon, sparkling water, and crushed blueberries. Bonus: It looks gorgeous.
Yes, these are strawberry shortcakes, and boy, are they tasty. But if it’s stone fruit season near you, these are just as fabulous with macerated cherries, plums or peaches. Even blueberries are wonderful with them. And don’t let anyone tell you you can’t have strawberry shortcake for breakfast. It’s summer. You make the rules. Stay cool.