Thirteen friends, the December dinner group, met for supper mid-August. We had a blast wearing flip flops and shorts instead of boots and sweaters. We gathered in the backyard, used many of our own vegetables and herbs, and enjoyed food mostly made ahead.
The Menu: Roasted summer vegetables with goat cheese ricotta on crostinis, prosciutto-wrapped cantaloupe and Charlie’s Jungle Bird cocktails; followed by lemon-dill shell pasta salad with grilled prawns and a platter of salad; Pam and Pamm brought dessert and I’m sorry, no picture of their fabulous ice cream sandwich cookies – it was dark by then. So much fun and the perfect delicious finale.
Summer Evening Supper
Salad dressings, roasted vegetables and goat cheese ricotta made a day ahead took about an hour. Day of, finished everything else in a couple of hours. Pretty easy considering it was a meal for more than a dozen. Easy enough for hosts to then kick back and enjoy the delicious evening.
Lemon-Dill Pasta & Prawns Salad Recipe
Serves 12, or more.
Ingredients & Directions: 24 oz (2 pkgs) large shell pasta/ Generously salt plenty of water and cook pasta until al dente/ Strain, place in a large bowl, let cool briefly and then toss with all of the lemon dressing.
Lemon Vinaigrette: Make dressing a day ahead or while pasta is cooking: 1/3 – 1/2 C freshly squeezed lemon juice, ¼ C finely minced red onion or shallot, 2/3 C olive oil, 1 T mustard, 3 T mayonnaise optional, 1 t salt and pepper to taste/ Whisk or shake vigorously, pour over warm pasta/ Make more if needed – the pasta needs plenty of dressing/ When pasta is completely cool stir in 1/2 C finely chopped fresh dill and chives (or more), 1 C chopped parsley, salt & pepper to taste/ Refrigerate until ready to serve.
Grilled Prawns Recipe
Ingredients & Directions: 2 ½ # gulf prawns (shells removed before cooking or not, your call), about 5 per person – keep refrigerated/ If using wooden skewers, soak them in water for at least 2 hours before grilling/ For the brief marinade: 2 T shallot or garlic, finely minced/ 1/3 C freshly squeezed lemon juice, 3 T olive oil/ salt & pepper/ Make the marinade, pour over prawns and toss gently; let sit for one half hour before cooking/ Arrange 6 prawns on each skewer/ Cook directly on a hot grill for 2 minutes on each side/ When cool, remove from skewers and place on top of prepared pasta salad/ Sprinkle with a little extra pasta salad dressing, lemon and parsley/ Refrigerate covered for a few hours or serve immediately.
Summer Salad Platter
Line a platter with lettuce leaves and then arrange favorite summer vegetables on top – for example, avocado, fresh corn, sliced peppers, scallions, cucumbers, tomatoes, fennel. Edible flower blossoms. Salt & pepper to taste. Dress with Balsamic vinaigrette (or any vinaigrette) and sprinkle generously with chopped basil or any fresh herb combination.
Balsamic Vinaigrette: Pour generously over salad just before serving. In a pint-sized container, combine ½ C Balsamic vinegar, 2/3 C olive oil, 2 smashed cloves garlic, 2 t mustard/ Shake or whisk vigorously, taste and adjust as needed/ Mix ahead and set aside until time to serve the salad.
Follow link to previous post and recipe.
Proscuitto Wrapped Cantaloupe
Ingredients & Directions: Cut 1 cantaloupe into bite-sized pieces, wrap each one with a small piece of prosciutto/ 12 oz of prosciutto was about the right amount/ Arrange on a plate with toothpicks and refrigerate until time to serve.