Summer cooking is equal parts fun and fresh ingredients and if you do it right, you’re never more than ten minutes away from an exceptional Summer-inspired meal. And if you want to satisfy your appetite in style this Summer, here are my Top 6 Summer Foodie Phrases and recipes you definitely need to know about. Whether you prefer to order them off a menu (NO judgment!) or want to recreate them in your own kitchen, I’ve got ya covered:
1.) Salade Niçoise [SAL-ad nee-SWAZ]: Niçoise literally means "in the style of Nice" which is where this super chic salad originated (pictured above). While it typically consists of fresh, traditional flavors such as tomatoes, oil-packed tuna, hard-boiled eggs, Niçoise olives and anchovies dressed with a simple vinaigrette, this delicious salad's global appeal has led to many variations. Today, a piece of seared rare tuna is often used instead of canned, oil-packed tuna. Other accoutrements are also added including potatoes, haricorts verts, capers and/or roasted red peppers.
This delicious flavor combination is also frequently used to top meat or fish and one of our all-time favorite Summer recipes is my recipe for Swordfish Niçoise. And for wine lovers, nothing pairs more perfectly with this lovely salade than a glass of Provençal rosé - Sante!
2.) Ceviche [seh-VEE-chay]: This classic Latin American dish which originated in Peru is a MUST for all seafood lovers! Ceviche is a combination of fresh, raw seafood (i.e. shrimp, sea bass, mahi-mahi, etc.) which is chopped and then "cooked" in citrus juices. The citric acid found in lemons and limes "denatures" the proteins in the fish, much like the application of heat, although the two processes are somewhat different.
The high acid of the citrus also creates an environment that is inhospitable to many pathogens, making the fish safe to eat as well. In addition to the citrus juice, ceviche is also given delicious flavor by adding garlic, onion and/or cilantro and is usually spiced with red chili peppers as well.
3.) Gazpacho [gaz-PAH-cho]: This quintessential, tomato-based Summer soup originated in Andalusia, Spain hundreds of years ago. In addition to tomatoes, gazpacho also includes raw vegetables such as onion, garlic, bell pepper, cucumbers and parsley which are chopped and blended together using either a traditional mortar and pestle or blender. Some older variations of this ancient dish also include bread although this is not commonly seen today.
The soup is then seasoned using vinegar, olive oil, salt and pepper and is always served chilled - making it even MORE perfect for a hot Summer day. I absolutely love this gazpacho recipe from the legendary Ina Garten that incorporates all the necessary key ingredients + delivers the most amazing flavor!
4.) Aïoli [ay-O-lee]: This sumptuous sauce's name literally means, "oil and garlic" in the Catalan and Provençal languages. Aïoli is a mayonnaise-like mixture of olive oil and garlic that’s particularly popular in the coastal Mediterranean towns of France, Italy and Spain. It is traditionally served alongside dishes such as steamed vegetables, poached seafood, shellfish and hard-boiled eggs. It beautifully enhances a dish's flavor with its garlicky goodness!
While the Spanish maintain aïoli should not include eggs which results in a more paste-like consistency, Provençal versions often do which gives the sauce a richer, creamier texture. To make aïoli from scratch, this is a fabulous recipe, and I also love this Provencal-inspired recipe for Grilled Swordfish with Rosé Aïoli and Fennel + Olive Salad that involves a little short cut.
5.) Semifreddo [se-mee-FRAY-doe]: This Italian, semi-frozen dessert will quickly become a staple in your kitchen this Summer! Semifreddo, which literally means "half-cold" in Italian, is a heavenly mixture of sugar, cream and eggs. The texture is somewhere between ice cream and decadent frozen mousse, however, semifreddo is not churned like ice cream which is where the main difference lies.
Semifreddo is made with whipped cream that is then frozen into a pan or mold and then sliced prior to serving. This deliciously divine Strawberry Pistachio Semifreddo is our Summer favorite!
6.) Elote [eh-LO-tay]: I don't know about you, but if there's one thing I CRAVE all Summer long...its corn. And the epitome of corny deliciousness can be found in Elote, aka Mexican street corn. In this dish, ears of corn are typically either boiled or cooked on the grill and then slathered with a combination of mayonnaise, crema (sour cream), lemon or lime juice, salt, pepper, butter, cheese (such as Cotija) and either chili powder or smoked paprika depending on how you roll.
We especially like Chef Michelle Bernstein's recipe for Mexican-style Corn with Lime, Ancho and Queso Fresco but feel free to use your artistic license and make it your own for a savory Summer treat!
I hope you enjoy these Top 6 Summer Foodie Phrases and that they help guide your enjoyment of the Summer season. I'd also love to hear about your favorite Summer dishes in the "Comments" section below.
And if you’d like to receive a little morsel of deliciousness in your inbox every week, please sign up to receive my free weekly newsletter, “The GG Guide to Wine + Food” by clicking here. It’s a treasure trove of Sommelier-selected, seasonally-inspired wine selections, recipes, pairings + travel tips. Thank you in advance and I look forward to joining you on your journey towards vinous + culinary enlightenment! xo