Getting together with friends doesn’t need to be something that’s planned for days. Keep it simple and enjoy the evening. You also want to cook easy, but delicious food with a minimum of fuss. I try to make up menus that do most of the cooking on the grill and much of the preparation in advance. That way I can spend time with my guests. Make dessert easy by serving fresh fruit. It is much more refreshing than a heavy dessert and add a little frozen yogurt, if desired.
Serve this dinner with a tray of vegetables and a creamy dip.
Pesto Flounder Packets
This recipe is easy to adapt to seasonal ingredients. When basil is not available, use a spinach or red pepper pesto. Baking in parchment during cold weather is quite successful, but use the grilling method when the weather cooperates.
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 4 (6-ounce) flounder fillets or any white fish fillets available in your area
- 1/4 cup prepared pesto
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- Sliced tomatoes
- Lime slices
Prepare an outdoor grill.
Cut aluminum foil into 4 pieces large enough to enclose the fillets. Drizzle 1/2 tablespoon olive oil on each piece of foil. Place fish on top of the oil.
Lightly spread 1 tablespoon pesto over each fillet. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Top with tomato and lime slices.
Seal foil packets and place on the grill. Grill 8-10 minutes or until fish are cooked.
Summer Vegetable Gratin
This casserole can be prepared in advance and cooked when the guests arrive or cooked in advance and reheated. Tastes just fine reheated.
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
- 1 medium onion, finely chopped
- 1 medium bell pepper, diced
- 1 medium yellow squash, diced
- 1 large garlic clove, minced
- 3 cups fresh corn kernels, divided
- 3 large eggs
- 1/2 cup whole milk
- 1 small handful of fresh parsley, washed, dried and coarsely chopped
- 3/4 cup sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
- Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Oil a 2-quart gratin or baking dish.
Set aside 1 cup of the corn kernels.
Heat the butter in a large skillet over low heat and add the onion. Cook, stirring often, until it begins to soften, about three minutes.
Add the bell pepper, squash and a generous pinch of salt. Cook, stirring often, until the vegetables are tender, about five minutes.
Add the garlic and 2 cups corn kernels, stir together and add another generous pinch of salt and some pepper.
Stir together for a minute or two and remove the pan from the heat.
Place the remaining 1 cup corn kernels in a blender and add the eggs, milk and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Blend until smooth. Combine with the vegetables in the skillet.
Add the parsley and the cheese, and stir together. Pour into the prepared gratin dish.
Bake 35 to 40 minutes, until the top is browned and the gratin is firm to the touch. Serve hot or warm.
- 1/4 of a red onion, sliced
- 2 small tomatoes, diced
- Half a cucumber, diced
- Sliced radishes and black olives to taste
- 4 cups torn garden lettuce
- Salt and Pepper
- Italian Vinaigrette, recipe below
Combine all the ingredients in a salad bowl. Sprinkle lightly with salt and pepper. Drizzle some of the dressing over the salad and mix well. Taste and add a little more dressing, if necessary.
Yields: ¾ cup
- 1 tablespoon dried Italian mixed herbs
- 3 cloves garlic, pressed
- 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon cracked black pepper
- 3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
- 1/2 cup olive oil
Whisk the first seven ingredients together. Whisk in the olive oil, a little at a time, until it is all incorporated.
From Jovina Cooks Italian food blog