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Help with a summer menu, need suggestion for a side

Parents are coming to visit this weekend and we'll be doing a lot of eating out, so I'd like to cook one night with the focus on fresh, healthy, summer-y foods. I think I've got an idea for a main- slow roasted salmon, unsure yet of the marinade, but possibly sweet chili-soy. Then a corn salad with roasted corn, basil, sweet peppers, caramelized onions and cherry tomatoes. My problem is the second side. I feel like the corn salad is a bit starch-y so I want to avoid polenta, rice, etc., but not sure how to pair another veg with it.

Some ideas I'm considering include Isreali couscous with roasted zucchini and carrots, or green beans with a zucchini and yellow squash, or just mashed zucchini and yellow squash, or white beans with onions, cherry tomatoes and basil (but that might repeat the corn flavors too much).

Mom is in charge of dessert, which is good since I can't bake to save my life, but we'll probably just have a simple berry cobbler.

So, any ideas on a second side or inspiration from the salmon marinade?

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  1. Corn salad is definitely a starch. Why not a great big wonderful salad?

    4 Replies
    1. re: c oliver

      My thought exactly. Some nice greens with other fresh vegetables, but not tomatoes or peppers since they are in your corn salad. You could blanche and marinade some green beans, and add them in, if you wanted something other than a generic "tossed" salad. Perhaps add some crumbled bleu or goat cheese too, to dress it up.

      1. re: c oliver

        I think a salad is probably the way to go. I'm heading to the Farmer's Market this morning, so I'll see what looks good, but I'm thinking greens, fennel (maybe roasted), pistachios, apricots and crumbled goat cheese with a simple vinaigrette.

          1. re: mjhals

            Apricots and goat cheese is a great combination! I hope it's delish!

        1. Of your three ideas, I'd go with the green beans, but while corn is starchy it is not one of the big three and if your parents are meat & potatoes types they may feel the menu is missing something. So I suggest putting out some nice crusty rolls or bread, which can be used another day if they aren't eaten.

          1. Now that summer squash is once again available, I'm doing a Vegetable Tian from the "for the love of cooking blog" . It went over very well last summer!

            1 Reply
            1. re: LoN

              I love yellow crookneck squash cut in half lengthwise, brushed with oo, s&p and grilled.

            2. My mom always used to marinate salmon in a 1:1 ratio of soy sauce and brown sugar for about 20 minutes. It was always spectacular I thought.

              As for a side, what about:

              Minted Melon Salad
              Green Salad with pecans, Goat Cheese & Apricots
              Apple Coleslaw
              Strawberry & Spinach with Balsamic Dressing
              Sonoran Salad

              1. Since you're thinking sweet chili marinade, how about a Thai-style slaw with shredded Napa cabbage, red bell pepper, green beans, a few cherry tomatoes and a little thinly sliced cucumber, with a dressing made from fish sauce, lime juice, a pinch of sugar, a little garlic and chopped cilantro? I think it would be nice with the corn salad.

                I make this menu a lot for company: salmon fillets with Korean-style marinade, sticky rice, and the aforementioned slaw. It's a tasty combo.

                2 Replies
                  1. re: gimlis1mum

                    add some grated ginger and a splash of toasted sesame oil to that slaw and garnish it with toasted sesame seeds, and i'm all over it :)