Oh! I Have A Recipe For: Summer Dinner

In this column, Scout contributor and food enthusiast Maciel Pereda shares her personal recipes aimed at solving everyday cooking conundrums. Possibilities are endless, ingredients are local, and cravings are always respected. Today Maciel shares her simple and satisfying dinner solution for hot, summer evenings…

I’m writing this while sitting on my apartment patio, legs partially submerged in a toddler-sized plastic wading pool that is slowly filling up with icy water from my beat-up hose. It’s almost 9pm and my forehead probably hasn’t stopped sweating since last week. If ever there was a week that called for ‘summer dinner’, this is certainly it!

If you’ve ever set out your food and thought, “I guess we’re not having a REAL meal tonight, because this is all my sapped self can muster!” then you’ve had summer dinner. Often you end up doing the same thing the next night, and very likely the night after that one – until you realize that there is no better 8pm meal option for a 28-degree August evening.

A close-up of some of Maciel’s tantalizing ‘summer dinner’ ingredients.

For me, it all starts back when I was growing up and a frequent summer meal in our house was “cold dinner”: hard-boiled eggs, some ham or other deli-style meat, cherry tomatoes, avocado, and bread with butter. I loved cold dinner and could have lived off of it exclusively, since it was basically a grocery list of my main food staples at the time. As an adult, I’ve distilled this meal down to a formula, with many of the pieces being interchangeable or malleable, depending on your energy level.

At its heart, summer dinner keeps the bread and avocado components of cold dinner, swaps out ham for salty hunks of feta drizzled in olive oil, and lets you be flexible about the additional fruit and veg (I’m just as likely to use strawberries as, say, tomatoes). The eggs become totally optional, and I usually skip them on hotter days when boiling water is an unreasonable task. But otherwise, that’s it! At least the bare bones version of it – which is important to have in your back pocket for days when there can be no shits given about prep. You could complicate things with any number of add-ons, including the aforementioned eggs, cured meats, radishes, peaches, and/or pickled things – the list goes on.

Here’s this week’s rendition, which involves ZERO cooking, but was made fancier by the addition of some lovely early apricots.

Basic Summer Dinner
Feeds Two(ish)

1 ripe avocado
1 pint small fruit/veg (e.g. berries, tomatoes, stone fruit)
1 block excellent feta
1 loaf fresh bread
Good olive oil
Flake salt

Let’s keep things simple: Cut bread. Break up cheese. Slice and salt avocado. Wash berries. Drizzle cheese with oil. Present appealingly. Eat immediately. Rosé optional.


Plot out your own Farmer’s Market summer dinner ingredient shopping spree here.

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