I have about a billion delicious summer recipes floating around in my recipe box. For me, the perfect summer recipe is fast and, ideally, cooked or at the very least enjoyed outdoors. And out of my collection, I always find a few recipes that I like to repeat during the hot summer months.
Here are a few of my favorite summer recipes (and yes, I'm starting with dessert first!):
Melon & Apple Granita (see recipe below): This granita uses sweet ripe melon for flavor, apple juice instead of sugar and a touch of lime juice to perk up the flavors. Berries look beautiful on top; or if you can find fresh figs, add them. For a vibrant look, make with an orange-fleshed melon, such as cantaloupe, Charentais or orange honeydew.
Smoky Ham & Corn Salad (click for recipe): Fresh corn, diced deli ham and crunchy croutons are tossed with a smoky, creamy tomato dressing in this light summer salad. Serve with a crisp glass of rosé and sliced melon.
Garden Pizza (click for recipe): Bell pepper, zucchini and a fresh tomato sauce give this vegetarian pizza a taste of summer. Pair it with a beer that doesn't have overpowering flavors, such as a lager or a less yeasty witbier, so the pizza's fresh, subtle flavors can shine.
Tomato & Fennel Salad (click for recipe): I like to use heirloom tomatoes in this simple salad. They're at their peak during the summer months and worth seeking out at your local grocery store or farmers' market. Which varieties you choose is up to you-any will work well here.
Grilled Beef Tenderloin & Escarole (click for recipe): Lightly grilled escarole combined with tangy tomato vinaigrette makes an irresistible accompaniment to juicy beef tenderloin. Serve with grilled baguette.
Melon & Apple Granita
ACTIVE TIME: 10 minutes
TOTAL TIME: 4 1/2 hours (including freezing time)
EASE OF PREPARATION: Easy
4 cups cubed ripe melon
1 cup unsweetened apple juice
1/4 cup lime juice
1 cup fresh blueberries
1 cup fresh raspberries
Fresh mint leaves for garnish
1. Combine melon, apple juice and lime juice in a blender; puree until smooth. Pour the mixture into a 9-by-13-inch glass or metal pan.
2. Place the pan on a level surface in your freezer. Freeze, stirring and scraping with a fork every 30 minutes, moving the frozen edges in toward the slushy center and crushing any lumps, until the granita is firm but not frozen solid, 3 to 4 hours.
3. Remove from the freezer; use a metal spatula or large spoon to break up the frozen ice into small slivers. Pack into an airtight plastic container and freeze for at least 1 hour more.
4. Remove from the freezer about 20 minutes before serving to soften slightly. Use a wide spoon or ice cream scoop to scrape the granita into shallow bowls. Sprinkle blueberries and raspberries over each portion and garnish with mint leaves, if desired.
Makes 8 servings, about 3/4 cup granita & 1/4 cup fruit each.
Per serving: 66 calories; 0 g fat (0 g sat, 0 g mono); 0 mg cholesterol; 17 g carbohydrate; 1 g protein; 2 g fiber; 17 mg sodium; 277 mg potassium. Nutrition bonus: Vitamin C (40% daily value).
By Hilary Meyer
EatingWell assistant editor Hilary Meyer spends much of her time in the EatingWell Test Kitchen, testing and developing healthy recipes. She is a graduate of New England Culinary Institute.
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