5 recipes perfect for summer entertaining

By / Food / June 12th, 2018 / 11
summer entertaining recipe ideas

This is the time of year when the weather is just right for summer entertaining. If you’re planning a summer brunch or a backyard barbecue for Father’s Day, these recipes will fit the bill. If you run into foul weather on the day of your festivities, just move the whole operation indoors.

Parmigiano Reggiano-Crusted Chicken with Arugula and Pine Nut Salad

To toast pine nuts, spread nuts on baking sheet. Bake in 375˚F oven, stirring occasionally, until golden, about 5 minutes. Italian-seasoned bread crumbs lend great flavour but you can also add your own preferred herbs and spices to plain bread crumbs.

4 boneless, skinless chicken breast filets
Salt and pepper, to taste
1/2 cup flour, for dredging
1 tbsp Dijon mustard
1 egg
3/4 cup Italian seasoned bread crumbs
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese
2 cups arugula
2 cups mixed greens
3 tbsp apple cider vinegar
1 tsp sugar
3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
Kosher salt, to taste
1/3 cup pine nuts, toasted
1 1/2 cups sliced cherry tomatoes

Preheat oven to 450˚F.

Place flour on a plate. In a small bowl, whisk Dijon mustard and egg.  Place bread crumbs, cheese, salt and pepper in a food storage bag. Shake bag to mix.

Line rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Dredge chicken on both sides in flour. Dredge in mustard/egg mixture to coat. Place in food storage bag and shake to coat chicken evenly. Place chicken on baking sheet. Bake chicken about 15 to 20 minutes, turning once, until browned and cooked through to an internal temperature of 165˚F.

Meanwhile, prepare salad: In a large bowl, whisk vinegar and sugar. Whisk in olive oil. Add salt, to taste. Toss salad greens with dressing.

Divide salad among 4 dinner plates. Top with chicken, pine nuts and cherry tomatoes. Garnish with cheese.

Match: Open a Sauvignon Blanc.

Tilapia and Quinoa with Blood Orange and Avocado Salsa

Serves 4

Quinoa is a complete protein, containing all nine essential amino acids. It’s also rich with fiber, iron, copper, magnesium, riboflavin and thiamin. With significant amounts of protein and omega-3 fatty acids, tilapia is a lean, white fish with a mild flavor. The red pigment in blood oranges is an antioxidant. Combined, the three equal a good-for-you power meal.

4 large blood oranges, peeled
1/4 cup fresh orange juice
2 ripe avocados, peeled and diced
1 scallion, thinly sliced
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
Kosher salt and pepper, to taste
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil, divided
4 tilapia fillets
2 tbsp cilantro leaves, chopped
1 cup quinoa
2 cups chicken or vegetable broth

Break oranges into segments. Over a large bowl, remove membrane from each segment, catching the juices in the bowl. Chop segments into bite-sized pieces.

Add 1/4 cup orange juice to bowl; gently stir in oranges and avocado, scallion, olive oil, salt and pepper. Set aside.

Rinse quinoa and drain well. In a medium saucepan, heat quinoa with broth to boiling. Reduce heat, cover and simmer 15 to 20 minutes or until quinoa is tender. Drain and keep warm.

In a large skillet, heat 1 tbsp olive oil over medium high. Season tilapia with salt and pepper. Reduce heat to medium low and pan-fry 2 fillets at a time until golden and cooked through, about 3 minutes per side. Transfer to a platter and cover with foil to keep warm. Add remaining olive oil to skillet and repeat with remaining fillets.

Divide quinoa among 4 dinner plates. Place tilapia over quinoa. Spoon orange and avocado salsa over tilapia. Garnish with cilantro.

Match: Very good with a Spanish Cava.
Creole shrimp recipe

Creole Shrimp

You could use a store-bought Creole seasoning but making your own allows you to control the heat and salt. I love this dish because it marinates and bakes while you enjoy a glass of wine with your dinner guests.

1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 tbsp homemade Creole spice mix (recipe follows)
2 tbsp low sodium soy sauce
1 tbsp honey
2 pounds large shrimp, peeled, deveined and tails removed
Cooked brown rice
Chopped scallions, for garnish

In a large baking dish, whisk olive oil, 2 tbsp Creole spice mix, soy sauce and honey. Add shrimp, stir to coat, cover, and marinate in fridge 1 hour.

Preheat oven to 450˚F. Bake shrimp in marinade, uncovered, 10 minutes or until shrimp are pink and cooked through. Serve over brown rice, garnished with scallions.

Homemade Creole Spice Mix

Add more or less of the salt, black and cayenne peppers, to taste.

In a small bowl, mix:

2 tbsp sweet paprika
1 tbsp garlic powder
1 tbsp onion powder
1 tsp salt
1 tsp black pepper
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp dried thyme
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper

Store remaining spice mix in an airtight container in the fridge. Great for seasoning vegetables, meat, seafood, soup, stews, gumbo and rice.

Grilled Lamb Chops with Kalamata Olive Vinaigrette

Lamb is a lovely spring and early summer dish, especially when cooked on the barbecue. Delicious when served with grilled red potatoes and grilled zucchini.

2 anchovy fillets
1 clove garlic, smashed
1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
8 pitted Kalamata olives, chopped
1/2 tsp chopped fresh rosemary
Salt and pepper, to taste
8 lamb loin chops, about 1-inch thick

In a food processor, mince anchovy fillets, garlic and lemon juice. Add olive oil and process until smooth. Transfer to bowl and stir in rosemary. Set aside.

Season lamb chops with salt and pepper. Grill chops over high heat, turning once, until browned, about 7 minutes for medium-rare or until internal temperature reaches 145˚F. Transfer 2 chops to each of 4 dinner plates. Spoon Kalamata Olive Dressing on top.

Match: Pair with Shiraz or a dry rosé.

Grilled Honey Butter Chicken

Serves 6

Substitute freshly squeezed orange juice for the lemon juice. If using boneless chicken breast fillets, grill about 5 to 6 minutes per side.

1/2 cup butter, room temperature
1 garlic clove, minced
2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
2 tbsp honey
1 tbsp minced fresh thyme
Salt and pepper, to taste
Extra-virgin olive oil for brushing
12 bone-in chicken thighs

In a medium bowl, mix butter, garlic, lemon juice, honey and thyme. Season with salt and pepper.

Brush chicken with oil. Season with salt and pepper.

Grill over moderate heat, turning occasionally, until charred in spots and cooked through, 20 to 25 minutes or until internal temperature is 160 ˚F. Brush chicken with honey butter. Cook, turning and brushing, until glazed, about 2 minutes.

Match: A Grenache blanc is very good with this dish.


Quench Food Editor, Nancy Johnson, minced, sliced, chopped, sautéed and sipped her way through George Brown College’s culinary program with a focus on food writing and wine. Nancy cooks by the code her Italian grandmother taught her: For the best results, always use the freshest, best ingredients. She writes for Ohio-based Wine Buzz Magazine and recently published a short story in Woman’s World Magazine. She is always on a diet.

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