As the warmer weather slowly makes its way, along with it comes longer nights and the want to throw fresh and summery dinner parties on rooftops or in your garden. Staying outside late while enjoying the last rays of sun is one of the great joys summer brings, be sure to spend the time surrounded by good friends, a glass of pinot and an amazing dinner.
Try these easy and fast recipes for a perfect summer menu from start to finish, leaving you to dig in to great food and great company without having to stand over the stove for hours.
For a starter we suggest serving up this easy salad with just three key ingredients:
Burrata Salad (serves 6)
12 oz burrata cheese
6 cups Arugula or other leafy green
Salt and Pepper to taste
Dill to finish
Slice the burrata cheese.
Slice the tomatoes in quarters.
On a plate put a few handfuls of leafy greens, add the sliced burrata cheese and the tomatoes.
Add salt and pepper to taste.
Garnish with dill and serve.
Move on to an entree that’s light yet full of flavors by making this pasta dish by Alison Hudson for the Athlete’s Kitchen:
Pasta with Tuna, Capers, Fennel & Lemon (Serves 4-6)
2 six – eight oz jar or can good quality tuna in olive oil
2 small fennel bulb, thinly sliced
2 large garlic cloves, smashed & minced
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
2 15 0z can whole peeled tomatoes
4 tbsp white wine or vermouth
zest from two lemons
juice from one lemon
2 tbsp capers
1/2 cup toasted breadcrumbs
coarsely chopped fennel fronds, for finishing
parmesan cheese, for finishing
1 box of spaghetti or linguine
Assemble all measured and prepared ingredients and tools within arms reach of the stovetop.
Set pasta water to boil in large pot.
Drain about 1 Tbsp oil from the tuna into the frying pan, over medium heat.
Add the thinly sliced fennel and sauté until golden, about five minutes.
Add the garlic and continue to sauté, three – five minutes more.
Add the red pepper flakes and stir until fragrant, about one minute
Add the tomatoes, juice & sauce included, plus the fish, leaving the fish in large chunks. (The chunks will reduce down as you stir normally and generally continue through the steps – breaking them down at this phase will create a mushy sauce.) Cook over medium – low heat, stirring occasionally, until liquid is reduced.
Add the wine, again stirring occasionally until liquid is reduced.
Add the capers, lemon zest and juice, stir once more to incorporate and cover to keep warm.
Drop pasta into boiling water and cook per the package instructions.
Add 2/3 of the sauce to the cooked & drained pasta, and toss with almost all the breadcrumbs and fennel fronds.
Place the mixed pasta and sauce in a serving bowl, and top with remaining sauce, crumbs and fronds.
End the night off right with this sweet and light poached pear dessert by Paulding & Company:
Poached Pears with Chocolate Sauce (serves 6)
3 cups water
1 1/2 cups sugar
slivered zest from one orange
1 vanilla bean
6 small almost-ripe pears, preferably a firm type like Bosc, Bartlett or Concorde
Juice from one orange
1/4 cup sliced almonds, toasted in a 300°F. oven until just beginning to color, about 3-5 minutes
3 oz good quality bittersweet chocolate, cut into small pieces
3/4 cup heavy cream
Combine the water, sugar, orange zest and halved, scraped vanilla bean plus its seeds, in a non-reactive (do not use aluminum or cast iron) pot large enough to accommodate the fruit. Bring to a boil and simmer for a few minutes.
Peel the pears. Gently remove the core from the bottom with a corer or paring knife. Cut a thin slice from the bottom of each, so they stand. Place pears in the pan, stem end up. The liquid should just cover the pears. Top this with a round of parchment or waxed paper (cut to size). Bring to a very gentle simmer and cook for 5-20 minutes, just until the pears are tender when pierced with a small knife. Less ripe pears will take longer, riper ones a shorter time. Remove pears and allow to cool to room temperature.
Add the orange juice to poaching syrup and simmer 15-20 minutes, until reduced by half. Pour over pears. May be refrigerated for up to 5 days at this point.
Make the chocolate sauce by bringing the heavy cream to a simmer in a small pan. Add the chocolate and stir, off the heat, until melted. If made in advance, this sauce will need to be re-warmed slightly for serving.
To serve place one pear in each flat bowl, with a little of the syrup. Spoon some warm chocolate sauce over the pear. Sprinkle with toasted almonds and serve.