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?
I just made a delicious melon salad loosely based on one from Deborah Madison's Local Flavors cookbook. It's sweet, spicy and tart all at once - and was a huge hit at a recent gathering at my house. Takes only a few minutes to make, too! You just need to get your hands on some Thai basil.
Here is the recipe:
Cantaloupe Salad with Thai Basil
1 scallion, finely diced
juice and zest of 2 limes
salt and pepper
3/4 c. cilantro leaves, chopped finely
1/3 c. Thai basil leaves, chopped finely
¼ cup mint leaves, chopped finely
1 jalapeño or serrano chile, finely minced
1 t. minced fresh ginger
1 T. extra virgin olive oil
One cantaloupe (2 to 2.5 lbs.), chopped into cubes
1 bunch arugula
Salt and pepper to taste
Put the scallion, lime juice, zest, herbs, chile, ginger, garlic, and oil in a bowl. Combine well and add salt and pepper to taste. Gently ix in the melon, and serve on a bed of greens.
It's super photogenic, too! http://whatwouldcathyeat.com/2010/06/...
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.
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
Strawberry & Spinach with Balsamic Dressing
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.
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.
re: c oliver