i love to do a big fat steak salad: some crisp romaine hearts, and/or baby greens, with pretty multi-colored cherry tomatoes, persian or english cukes, avocado, rare grilled steak strips, bleu cheese and a sherry vinaigrette. on a huge white platter, it looks great, couldn't be simpler, and people love it. maybe coconut shrimp to start, a pretty summery drink, garlic or another good bread to accompany the salad, and summer pudding or berry-misu for dessert...nearly everything can be done ahead.
There have been some good discussions here about grilled pizzas. worth a search if you're willing to make your own dough.
I find grilled whole fish particularly tasty and impressive (and easy!).
And I like to grill vegetables for sides, or to put in the salad (charred scallions are great in a green salad). A platter of grilled zucchini or eggplant, lightly dressed with herbs and a lemon vinaigrette (and feta or mozzarella) are lovely.
Fresh pickles are easy and go well with meat-heavy menus.
There was a great description of a salad of sliced heirlooms and watermelon with a lemon dressing which sounded fascinating (I think in Kitchen Voyeur in the New York Times Magazine?).
And it's hard to beat ice cream or sorbet for dessert when it's hot outside.
My favourite main courses are grilled chicken (Citrus Chicken under a Brick), cedar planked salmon or steaks.
Favourites sides are grilled coconut kale, grilled assorted veggies, grilled pizza bianca
Sangria, punch or wine for beverages
Crostada for dessert with seasonal fruit
re: sarah galvin
I want to do chicken under a brick on my grill (charcoal or wood). I usually spatchcock a chicken, then microwave it to parcook it before grilling because I'm afraid it will dry out. Should I still parcook it first, or will the brick method keep it moist enough to cook directly from raw? Any other tips?
re: sarah galvin
I second the sangria. People love it! I'm doing a white wine peach one for tomorrow night. A few tips that I've gleaned from years of making it:
- people like firm fruit better to soak up the alcohol - i.e., apples, pears, peaches
- use a little brandy to give a little kick
- club soda or soda is not necessary and a bit weird
- use very little sugar, if any
- do not, under any circumstances, use canned fruit cocktail. As a chow I'm sure you won't but have an acquaintance who makes it this way - blech!
- make it night before and double the recipe. people love it. Summer = sangria in my book!