Summer is definitely the time to not go out to eat, but to get creative in the kitchen; longer, lighter evenings are just crying out for tasty dinners.
The fresh produce and vegetables available during the summer months means that you can take some risks with flavors and serve up some globally-inspired dishes that are not only packed with flavor, but are healthy. Here are a few easy and creative dinner recipes to get you started on for yourself, a fun friendly gathering or for the family.
Lime-grilled Salmon with Coconut Rice
Packed with fresh and evocative flavors, this restaurant favorite is surprisingly easy to make. Coupled with a zingy mango-avocado salsa, this salmon dish is perfect for al fresco dining.
- For the lime-grilled salmon: 6 oz salmon fillets, 2 tsp lime zest, 3 tbsp lime juice (the fresher, the better), 3 gloves crushed garlic, 3 tbsp olive oil, sea salt and fresh ground pepper.
- For the coconut rice: 1.5 cups cooked and rinsed jasmine rice, 1.5 cups coconut water, 1.25 cups coconut milk (canned or carton), pinch of sea salt.
- For the salsa: 1 large peeled and diced mango, 1 large peeled and diced avocado, ¾ cup chopped pepper, ¼ cup chopped coriander or cilantro, 1/3 cup rinsed and chopped red onion, 1 tbsp lime juice, 1 tbsp coconut water, 1 tbsp olive oil, sea salt and fresh ground pepper.
Method: First, create the salmon marinade by whisking together the lime zest and juice, garlic, olive oil and salt and pepper. Place the salmon in a suitable container and pour the marinade over it, leaving the flavors to steep in a refrigerator for 30 minutes on each side. Preheat the grill to medium-high, then cook the salmon for around 3 minutes on each side.
Then it’s time to add some flavor to the rice! In a medium pan, bring to boil the coconut milk, water and salt before adding the cooked rice. Cover and allow to simmer until the liquid has been absorbed; this usually takes around 20 mins. Let it rest for 5-10 minutes before serving.
On to salsa time…Combine the mango, avocado, pepper, coriander or cilantro, red onion, lime juice, coconut water and olive oil into a medium bowl and gently fold the mixture. Season with sea salt and fresh black pepper to taste. The recipe is three parts Latin and a one part Mediterranean to bring together a sexy, healthy summer dinner.
Cilantro Lime Chicken
If fish isn’t your thing, then you can create an equally-tasty chicken dish that will have your taste buds singing! Either protein is a healthy choice for summer chow.
- For the chicken: 1.5lb skinned and boneless chicken breast, ¼ cup lime juice, ¼ cup fresh cilantro, ½ tsp ground cumin, ¼ tsp salt, 2 tbsp olive oil.
- For the salsa: 4 peeled and diced avocados, 3 tbsps lime juice, 1 clove of garlic, ½ cup fresh diced cilantro, ½ tbsp red wine vinegar, ½ tsp red pepper flakes or ¾ cup chopped fresh pepper, ½ tsp ground cumin, salt and pepper to taste.
Method Create the lime and cilantro marinade by adding the lime juice, olive oil, cilantro, cumin and salt into a small bowl and whisk until mixed. Add the chicken and marinade to a suitable container and let it sit for 15 minutes in the refrigerator. Preheat a grill to medium-high, and then grill the chicken for around 4-6 minutes on each side.
Make the salsa by placing the avocado, lime juice, cilantro, vinegar, pepper, garlic and salt into a small bowl. Gently toss the ingredients together to mix, or use a small whisk (we love this cute little one from Amazon).
Memphis BBQ Ribs
A BBQ staple! For that authentic Memphis taste, follow the advice of pro poker player and BBQ obsessive, Chris Moneymaker: “[P]eel the back off the ribs, season the ribs with BBQ powder and put them in the fridge overnight”. It might not be the healthiest of choices, but no one will complain.
- For the ribs: 2 racks of spareribs or 3 racks of baby back ribs (pork), BBQ powder or create your own rub with – ¼ cup sweet paprika, 4.5 tsp fresh ground black pepper, 4.5 tsp dark brown sugar, 1.5 tsp cayenne pepper, 1.5 tsp garlic powder, 1.5 tsp dry mustard, 1/5 tsp ground cumin, 1 tsp celery salt, 1 tbsp salt.
- For the Memphis mop sauce: 2 cups cider vinegar, 2 tsp salt, ½ cup yellow mustard.
Method Remove the back off the ribs by using a kitchen towel or pliers for a secure grip. Bring together the rub ingredients in a small bowl and mix. Rub two thirds of the mixture on both sides of the ribs, transfer to a suitable container and leave to cure overnight in the refrigerator. If you don’t have the ingredients to make your own rub, just use BBQ powder at this stage.
Prepare the mop sauce by mixing the vinegar, mustard and salt in a small bowl and then set aside.
For the most authentic taste, cook the ribs on a charcoal grill, preheated to medium. Toss some wood chips onto the coal and make sure the grill is brushed with oil before cooking. Place the ribs onto the grate, cover and cook for 1 hour.
Brush the ribs with the mop sauce after an hour of cooking, replace the cover and continue cooking for another ½ to 1 hour (spareribs) or ¼ to ½ hour (baby back ribs). You can tell the ribs are cooked when the meat feels tender and has shrunk away from the bone ends. 15 minutes before the ribs are cooked completely, sprinkle the remains of the rub to season.
Tip – you’ll need to add around 10 fresh coals to the fire after 1 hour of cooking.