I woke up early this fine June morning, and while having coffee with Jerry on the deck in the backyard, I realized how sweet and clean the morning air smelled after the rain last night. That immediately puts me in “entertaining mode”, because if I feel that good, I want to share it. While May was a whirlwind of events like my birthday party (a huge success!), Marc’s college graduation (an even bigger success!), and Esmeralda’s Atlantic City Birthday Weekend (what happens in AC stays in AC, right Delsa?), the month of June, with is sweet mornings, soft evenings that twinkle with the fluorescent light of fireflies and whisper of summer, and Father’s Day festivities, fills me with the anticipation of alfresco dining at home, with family and friends. Don’t those sound like meals to remember?
For the record, while Grilled Short Ribs with chimichurri may well be my new favorite things to eat in the well (thank you very much Buenos Aires!), I feel compelled to share a few salad recipes for the beginning of summer. I am a huge fan of throwing anything on the grill, but I love to accompany it with a marvelous salad that will showcase all of the fabulous fruits and vegetables of the season.
I ran into TV and radio personality Mario Bosquez the other day, after doing a spot on Martha Stewart Radio, and we started talking about the relative absence of salad and vegetables in Latin American cooking. I told Mario that I am on a campaign to remedy that situation by creating recipes that spotlight Latin ingredients and combining them with healthy greens, meats, fruits, and cheeses (ie. Shrimp Mango Salad pictured above), so that Latinos will find themselves inspired to venture into the wonderful world of salad!
In the Caribbean, “salad” usually means a bit of lettuce, a couple of slices of tomato, and a slice of avocado. That being said, think of a bowl of crispy greens, cucumbers, red onion, and grilled pineapple…or, how about peppery arugula , crunchy romaine, sautéed chorizo and Spanish Valdeon blue cheese. Does grilled roasted peppers with a really good olive oil and a sprinkle of sherry vinegar ring your bell? If that were not enough to set your pulse racing, I’d check with the doctor!
The great thing about salads for summer entertaining (aside from how good they are for you!), is that you can do all of your prep before hand (remember to wash , dry and bag your greens, adding a damp paper towel to keep them fresh in your ziplock bag. The rest of the ingredients you can put in a separate plastic bag, and just pull them out of the refrigerator and dress it while you put the finishing touches on your grilled items. This whole process takes place while you actually visit with your guests, so it will definitely become one of your new fave ways to entertain this summer…you know it’s one of mine!
So this Father’s Day, treat yours to some really delicious grilled short ribs, pulled pork, steak, or even delicious rotisserie chicken, but don’t forget the Tomato Salad, the Shrimp and Avocado Salad, or the Romaine, Red Onion, and Orange Salad…and if you really want to show him how special he is, break out the Shrimp Mango Salad! These will be the feature presentation at this years Fathers Day barbeque!
And for the Silver Fox himself:
Feliz Dia de Los Padres, Papi!