Deciding on a menu for a summertime supper party is easy when I conjure up those slow summer days when the living is, well, easy. After a day on the water or at the beach, the ideal summer dinner party should be casual and use minimal ingredients and pantry staples, whilst still being incredibly nutrient dense and, of course, fresh.
With this seasonal menu, I encourage you to visit one of the island’s farm markets on a Saturday morning to buy your supplies. Eating locally sourced produce is a flavour game-changer. You’ll never get the same sweet, juicy experience of a farm fresh heirloom tomato if you buy the same imported one from the grocery store. It comes down to flavour, cost and reducing our environmental impact, something all of us should be conscious of.
While you can get the majority of the ingredients for our summertime supper from local farm stands, the fresh fish can be sourced at certain local grocery stores (Miles and Lindo’s are a good bet) or your friendly neighbourhood fisherman.
I find the best summer dinners consist of one lush plate rather than several courses so I have four simple dishes. I don’t think heirloom tomatoes need much so no recipe follows, but slice them thickly and sprinkle with Tucker’s Farm goat cheese, coarse sea salt and chopped fresh basil.
Rockfish is plentiful in Bermuda during the summer; it is delicate so pan-sear the fillets till they are crisp and then pair them with grilled Bermuda bananas and almonds. For delicious crunchy greens, there is lemony green beans, a summer favourite of mine and so delicious as a leftover. For a little extra green, toss BermyFresh greens and sprouts in leftover vinaigrette from the green beans with some sunflower seeds and put on the table for guests to help themselves.
To round out the main course, we roast fingerling potatoes with rosemary, sea salt and light olive oil until they are crispy and tender.
For a fresh and easy dessert, pass a large plate of cool fresh watermelon slices (preferably Bermuda grown!) and serve with home-baked cookies from the farmer’s market or other local baker.
Pass the wine and enjoy!
Tomato salad with Tucker’s Farm goat’s cheese and basil
Pan-fried Bermuda rockfish
Lemony green beans
Roasted fingerling potatoes with rosemary
Green salad with BermyFresh mixed greens and microgreens
Sliced watermelon and Bermuda home-baked cookies
Seared Rockfish with Grilled Bananas – (Serves 6)
Six 4-ounce fillets of rockfish
3 bananas, cut lengthwise and then in half
1/4 cup almonds, chopped
3 tablespoons light olive oil
1 tablespoon grass-fed butter (or ghee/ dairy-free butter)
Sea salt and pepper
Dash of Gosling’s rum (optional)
In a cast-iron skillet, heat up the light olive oil and butter over medium heat. Prepare your rockfish fillets with a little drizzle of the olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Touch a corner of the fillet into the pan to see if you get a sizzle reaction. If you do, the pan is ready. Place the fillets in the pan. The aim is to have the heat high enough to crisp the fish but not high enough that the oil reaches its smoke point (when it starts to smoke). Sear on each side for three to five minutes, depending on the thickness of your fillet. Regardless, keep a close eye. When the fish is done, remove from the heat and transfer to a paper-towel-lined plate and then to a serving platter.
Still on medium with the oil in the pan, sauté the almonds for three or four minutes. Add the banana quarters and let sauté for a minute or so on each side. Halfway through, add a tiny squeeze of lemon and optional dash of Gosling’s rum. We want the bananas to get slightly browned but without softening too much. Once the bananas and almonds are done, transfer directly on top of the fish.
Lemony Green Bean Salad – (Serves 6)
1 .5 pounds green beans, ends removed
1 shallot, chopped finely
1/4 cup olive oil
1 tablespoon honey
1 tablespoon mustard
1 lemon, juiced and zest
3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
3 tablespoons parsley, chopped
Big pinch of sea salt and black pepper
Prepare a bowl of ice and set aside. Bring a pot of water to boil and steam the green beans for about four minutes with the lid on. Check at three minutes, remembering that they’ll cook after we remove them from the heat. Once ready, strain the beans and transfer them to the bowl of ice to stop them cooking. While the beans chill, begin on the vinaigrette. In a small bowl, whisk together olive oil, honey, mustard, lemon juice and zest, apple cider vinegar, and sea salt. Add the chopped parsley and shallot. Strain the beans again and toss with vinaigrette.
As with other hearty salads, this gets better over time so it can be done in advance and refrigerated.
Rosemary Roasted Fingerling Potatoes
3 cups of fingerling potatoes, sliced lengthwise
Light olive oil
3 tablespoons rosemary, chopped
Large pinch of sea salt and black pepper
Preheat the oven to 400F. In the baking pan, toss fingerling potatoes with a tablespoon or so of light olive oil or enough to line all the potatoes. Add the chopped rosemary, lots of sea salt and fresh ground black pepper. Roast for 20–30 minutes, tossing every 10 minutes to ensure all edges can crisp. Serve hot!