My Favorite Summer Meals

By Sandy Hu
The latest from Inside Special Fork

I don’t do any serious cooking during the summer. Much as I love my kitchen, I avoid standing over a hot stove when the weather in sweltering.

So what to eat? Here are some easy summer ideas:

  • Cold meats and cheeses arranged on a platter with Dijon mustard, cornichons, roasted red peppers and hunks of crusty bread
  • “Instant” pizza made by spreading bottled sauce on pita bread or flour tortillas, topping with a thin layer of pizza toppings and cheese, then baking until the cheese is bubbly.
  • Various kinds of green salads tossed with chicken (grilled or leftover rotisserie chicken) or leftover steak slices, your choice of dressing, and finished with a sprinkling of shredded cheese
  • Grilled cheese sandwiches made in a panini maker and accompanied with some sliced heirloom tomatoes, drizzled with good olive oil

Try some of my favorite recipes for summer from the Special Fork database. Most require just a little oven or stovetop time, but the flavors are fresh and the preparation is minimal; they’re perfect meals for the season.

  • Panzanella is a rustic Italian bread salad made by tossing together chunks of ripe tomatoes, cucumber and bell peppers with fresh basil leaves and outsized croutons. You’ll need 5 minutes at the stove to toast the baguette cubes to make the croutons. The recipe was developed by Zoe McLaughlin.
  • Mint Pesto Couscous with Broccoli and English Peas is one of my go-to summer recipes by Jess Ziman. You’ll need about 5 minutes to cook the broccoli and peas, and you have to boil some water to reconstitute the couscous. Other than that, the “cooking” consists of making a fragrant pesto with mint leaves, lemon juice, olive oil and Parmesan cheese. This dish is delicious at room temperature or served cold.
  • Cold Soba Noodles with Dipping Sauce is a traditional Japanese summer dish with clean, simple flavors. Allow 4 minutes to boil the soba and 4 minutes to simmer the dashi soup base. The rest is strictly assembly.
  • Bánh Mì (Vietnamese sandwich) seems to be everyone’s favorite kind of sandwich, these days. You can make your own at home with this recipe by Marilyn Hunter. She suggests using rotisserie chicken or roast pork purchased from a Chinese deli for the filling. The fresh herbs and pickled vegetables add bright flavors to perk up sluggish summer appetites.

Photo of Bánh Mì (Vietnamese sandwiches) shown above is by Marilyn Hunter.

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Posted: Jul 20th by Sandy_Hu