I love the first weekends of late spring/early summer, when lavender and rosemary scent the air, roses and peonies start to perk up and porch sitting becomes part of the daily routine. The kitchen also wakes up with kicks of marinades and sauces, the churn of ice cream, and salads spinning. This weekend, in particular, seems to be the official kick-off to the grilling season.
It’s a good idea to have a handful of go-to summer dishes–sides, salads and desserts–to accompany grilled mains. And when it comes to outdoor cooking, the possibilities are many. Here are some ideas from here and around the globe:
To kick things off: Grilled Oysters, Planked Goat Cheese-Stuffed Peppadews, Andrea Nguyen’s Hmong Spicy Eggplant Spread, Food52’s Boozy Watermelon Rosemary Lemonade and Creamy Sausage-Stuffed Mushrooms, Crostini or pasta with Carrot Top-Walnut Pesto, and Pea and Mint Crostini, Masala Farm Tomato Pie.
The meatier side, these ribs from “A Mouthful of Stars,” Donna Hay’s Chargrilled Lime and Sriracha Skewers, Laurent Tourondel’s Caribbean Jerk Chicken, Grilled Glazed Salmon Sandwiches with Bacon, Deluxe Lobster and Potato Chip Rolls, Mushroom Burgers with Fried Egg and Truffle Oil.
To round things out or cool things down: Barbecue Beans from Leite’s Culinaria, Bobby Flay’s Frozen Mojitos, Donna Hay’s Char-Grilled Corn with Miso Butter, Char-Grilled Potato Salad with Creamy Mustard Dressing, and Cold Soba Salad with Dried Shiitake Dressing, Crispy Smashed Za’atar Potatoes, Maple Cornbread.
For the sweet tooth,keep it simple and sweet with rustic fruit galettes, a make-ahead semifreddo, ice ream sandwiches, Sara Foster’s Blackberry Cobbler with Drop Cream Biscuits, or North Carolina Chef Bill Smith’s amazing Atlantic Beach Pie.