Bacon and bourbon are great (see below), but sometimes, the best and most delicious way to capture summer is minimally. This simple dish fits that bill perfectly. Your favorite fish gets dressed only in olive oil and lemon, and the corn gets a similar treatment. Summer on a plate.
4 ears corn, shucked
5 tablespoons olive oil
Large pinch cayenne
Four 6-ounch fillets firm white fish, like striped bass, cod, tilapia or halibut
1 lemon, halved
Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Fill a large pan (wide enough to hold the corn) with 1 inch of water. Bring to a boil. Lay or stack the corn in the pan. Place a lid on top, and let steam for 3 minutes. Drain and cool off the corn by running it under cold water.
Cut the corn from the cobs, scraping the cobs to extract as many corn juices as possible. Put the scraped corn into a pan, add 2 tablespoons olive oil, and season with salt and cayenne. Gently rewarm over medium low heat while you cook the fish.
Arrange the fish in a baking dish — no need for crowding! Drizzle the remaining 3 tablespoons olive oil on top. Season with salt and place in the oven. Roast until the fish is just cooked through (about 10 minutes per inch of thickness). Baste the fish about halfway through with the olive oil that pools in the baking dish. Remove from the oven and squeeze the lemon all over the fish.
Spoon some corn on each plate, and top with a piece of fish.
2. Corn, Bacon, and Clam Stew
It fits in one pot. A full half-pound of bacon gives it a smokey, meaty hit. And it’s got bourbon. Before you leave your desk to go make this stew right this minute, be sure to invite a bunch of friends over — it feeds a crowd.
3. Brigit Binns’ Crab Cakes
Crab stars here — the bread crumbs don’t detract from its glory. For an appetizer that will steal the show (because we know that’s why you’re bringing anything to the party, anyway), garnish these with just a single wedge of lemon.
This recipe is a summer seafood trifecta, no component of which can be argued with: a buttery, toasted roll; fresh just-caught crab; and avocado mayonnaise. Plus, you can swap in any seafood that happens to be in season.
5. Shrimp Burgers with Roasted Garlic-Orange Aioli
Some people can’t get enough of burgers during summer, but everyone needs a break from beef every once in a while, no matter how iron-deficient you are. These lighter shrimp burgers, accented with red pepper, fennel fronds, and orange zest, are the perfect way to break up a beef streak.
If you’re not heading north up the coast to Maine this summer, the juicy tang of summer tomatoes and sweetness of lobster will just about make up for it. A sprinkle of mint over the top is the perfect finishing touch.
This meal is for those of you who squirm when you think of raw fish: it’s basically ceviche, but cooked. Think of it as fish taco filling, thoroughly doused with lime and cilantro. Serve it with tortillas, chips, or maybe an avocado or two if you’re feeling particularly festive.
8. Grilled Squid Salad with Lemon, Capers, and Parsley
Here, squid gets an upgrade from the fried fare of seaside shacks. Tumbled with whole parsley leaves, slices of potato, and red pepper flakes and capers for brightness, squid gets the royal treatment. Make it in just under ten minutes.
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