Consider this your playbook for a season of delicious meals that highlight in-season ingredients.
By Lynn Andriani
1Another Very Important Reason To Stock Up On Hot Dog Buns
We love lobster rolls for their perfect pairing of high- (lobster) and low-end (hot dog bun) ingredients. This recipe for the quintessential Maine sandwich, from the new book Real Maine Food, by the founders of Luke's Lobster, demonstrates just how delicious the lobster roll can be, if you follow two key points. First, use split-top buns. They sit upright on a flat bottom and have bread-y (rather than crusty) sides, so you can butter and grill the outside to the perfect crispness. Second, don't mix the lobster meat with anything; you want its delicate flavor to shine. Spread mayo on the inside of the buns, drizzle butter over the meat, sprinkle seasoning on top and that's it.
We're big fans of any recipe that lists ingredient quantities in easy, low-stress, nonspecific language (as in, "1 large handful of basil"), which is why this one from Katie Quinn Davies' What Katie Ate on the Weekend, with its just-eyeball-it amounts of herbs and greens, caught our eye. Aside from that, though, it's a terrific side salad that can bolster any meal, from grilled chicken to beef kebabs. The whole-grain farro, cherry tomatoes and feta will hold up remarkably well; so, if you make this early in the week, you can enjoy the leftovers for days.
This lighter, brighter burger from Nong's Thai Kitchen, by Nongkran Daks, is a white-meat twist on the classic. It calls for ground chicken or pork, which you mix with a garlic-cilantro Thai sauce that gives the leaner meat a deep umami flavor. You can serve these patties on buns with a few slices of tomato, cucumber and red onion; or, enjoy them the traditional Thai way: with a side of steamed rice.
Fresh corn usually shows up in a Mexican meal in salsa form, but chef Rick Bayless, whose new book is More Mexican Everyday, uses it as a taco filling, reminding us of just how versatile this farm-stand staple can be. He combines the kernels with zucchini, cooks them until they're brown (which just takes a few minutes) and stirs in roasted poblano chilies and cream. Spoon everything into soft tacos and sprinkle some crumbled cheese on top, and you've got a delicious and filling warm-weather meal.
With their thick "walls" and few seeds, Roma tomatoes make an ideal topping for bruschetta. Their rich flavor needs little embellishment, making this ridiculously easy recipe, from the new paperback edition of Lucinda's Rustic Italian Kitchen, by Lucinda Scala Quinn, a no-brainer. All you do is combine the tomatoes with olive oil, sliced basil, crushed garlic, salt and pepper and put the mixture over toast for an instant-gratification appetizer, lunch, dinner accompaniment -- or, yes, breakfast.
These prosecco-blueberry-lemon Popsicles from Maria del Mar Sacasa's newSummer Cocktails are fantastic on their own -- the clean, fresh taste of the prosecco and lemon nicely complements the juicy, slightly sour blueberries -- but you can also serve the pops in glasses of sparkling wine and enjoy a frosty (and boozy!) dessert. As the pops melt, they'll add flavor and keep drinks cool.
Heat your biggest pot (an 8-quart stockpot works well) over high heat and drizzle some olive oil in. Just as it starts to simmer, add everything you've just chopped (plus the tomatoes), giving the vegetables some time to soften in the oil and develop more flavor. Then add 1 pound of whole grain pasta and water. Once the liquid comes to a boil, reduce the heat to a simmer, so you see bubbles gently rising to the surface. Continue to cook for as long as the pasta package suggests, stirring every few minutes. Call everyone to the table because you're about a minute away now.
Step Three: Mix It All Together, No Serving Dish Required
When the pasta is al dente (tender but not mushy), turn off the heat. The water will have all been absorbed, so there's no need to drain it. Fold in grated Parmesan; because while people may want to add cheese to their own portions, a quarter-cup, or so, stirred into the entire dish gives it a touch of creaminess, and probably eliminates the need for you to add salt. Finally, top the pasta with a few sprigs of fresh basil and enjoy.