Summer evenings were made for enjoying bright salads, fresh veggies, and grilled meats. What's easier than throwing everything on the barbecue and enjoying a glass of rosé while your dinner soaks up all of that smoky goodness?
Still, we're almost two full months into the season, which means that these flawless summer suppers may be getting a bit redundant. To help you spice up your warm-weather dining, we asked a few chefs from across the country to answer the question, “What's your go-to summer weeknight dinner?" Read on below for their answers.
“Most of my weeknight meals are at the restaurant, but when I’m home, one of my favorite things to cook in the summer is linguine with clam sauce. This time of year, I have more white wine on hand, and this dish goes perfectly with a crisp white. A lot of people think of grilling when they think of summer, but this dish is tasty and simple, and comes together so quickly.”—executive chef Todd Mitgang, Crave Fishbar in New York
“I would have to say Indian food. There’s an amazing spot called Badmaash in Downtown L.A. run by two brothers and their dad. I won’t tell you what 'badmaash' translates to but it’s pretty bold. You can probably figure it out on your own. They’re making Indian food fun and approachable, while at the same time honoring the tradition of that great cuisine.”—executive chef Hugo Bolanos, Wolfgang Puck at Hotel Bel-Air in Los Angeles
“Something light and fresh. An heirloom tomato salad is always a good choice—mixed with some watermelon, ricotta salata, and basil for a nice refreshing meal with plenty of flavor!”—executive chef Laurent Tourondel, L’Amico and The Vine in N.Y.C.
“Dining in the summer for me is all about the outdoor grill—I love the smell of wood burning. I don’t use gas or propane grills, because I enjoy the full flavor from a wood-burning grill. Give the fire love and it will return it to you in spades. I love to cook, present, and eat clean, especially in the summer. Some of my favorite summer dishes include grilled Florida steak with tomatoes, green lemon, arugula, and anise chimichurri; marinated pork loin with smoked eggplant capanatta and sprouting project mustard greens; and grilled local Pompano with charcoaled peaches, Vidalia onion, carrot, and ginger.”—executive chef Daven Wardynski, Omni Amelia Island Plantation Resort in Amelia Island, Fla.
“Summer’s the season when I tend to eat lighter, eliminating the heavy carbohydrates. One of my favorite things that is quick and easy to put together is Korean marinated chicken thighs cooked on the grill with corn and mushrooms. Being a New Yorker, I try to capitalize on the beautiful summer nights here by cooking outside.”—executive chef Michael Ferraro, Delicatessen in New York
“Marinated skirt steaks on the grill served with an heirloom tomato salad, fresh basil, and creamy mozzarella with bread on the side.”—executive chef and wwner Joe Isidori, BlackTap Craft Burgers + Beer in New York
“I love tacos and I love meat cooked over fire. My favorite would be simple marinated skirt steaks, fresh tortillas, lime, a great salsa and charred onions. A shot of great tequila to go with that and I’m set.”—executive chef Andre Natera, Omni Barton Creek Resort & Spa in Austin
“Mushroom risotto with garlic, lemon, goat cheese, and grilled summer squash.”—executive chef Michael Armstrong, Bodega Negra in N.Y.C.
“I love to grill outdoors, so my go-to summer dinner is Grilled Summer Guard Chicken with an apple walnut salad. For the dressing on the salad, I use a soy herb dressing made out of fresh herbs from our garden, like cilantro, tarragon, and parsley, combined with lemon, a blend of fresh tomato, vinegar, soy and olive oil. For the chicken, I top it with fresh herbs, vinegar, oil, fresh oregano, thyme, lemon and orange zest. The meal is light, fresh, and a lot of the ingredients come right from our backyard!”—chef and owner Troy Guard, TAG Restaurant Group in Denver
“My go-to summer dinner is light and healthy—fresh summer tomatoes, cucumbers, and red onions with balsamic vinegar and olive oil, topped with tuna salad, light mayo, scallions and horseradish.”—chef and owner Michael Schulson, Sampan, Graffiti Bar, Double Knot, and Independence Beer Garden, all in Philadelphia, and Izakaya in Atlantic City, N.J.
“In the summer, I love cold soba noodles with a thin and intense soy-yuzu dressing. I'll add some mizuna, scallions, and a lot of sesame seeds.”—chef and co-owner Matt Hyland, Emily in Brooklyn, N.Y.