When it comes to entertaining in the summer, I like to keep it casual and relaxed. A fun and refreshing cocktail to get the evening started, and then a meal complete with something off the grill, and some really nice make ahead side salads and gratins that feature the farmer’s market’s best ingredients. For dessert, I like to go with something fresh and fruity with things like cherries, peaches, and berries.
I just finished teaching a week of cooking classes the last before summer break, that featured this menu:
Pickled Shrimp & Tomato Skewers
Grilled Tri Tip Steaks with Smoky Steak Sauce
Roasted Fingerling Potato Salad with Corn, Blue Cheese, and Lemony Creme Fraiche Dressing
Tomato Gratin with Asiago Bread Crumbs
Individual Bourbon Spiked Cherry Pies
The entire menu was make-ahead friendly, perfect for serving buffet style, and delicious eaten at room temperature. Exactly what I wanted for my casual no-stess evening.
Having everything ready before your guests arrive will definitely make you smile. You are sure to have fun, and will feel ready to enjoy that cool refreshing cocktail or two with your guests, instead of running around trying to pull everything together at the last minute.
I posted a picture of the little cherry pies on Instagram before class started…
but it’s the potato salad that I am featuring today. A spin on traditional potato salad, I have roasted the potatoes to bring out their warm, sweet flavor. Fresh corn & blue cheese also get tossed into the bowl and I used creme fraiche as a base for the dressing, which added a really nice tang.
—–And as long as you have creme fraiche and blue cheese in the mix, why not really take it over the top and add in a bit of crispy bacon crumbles too if you like. That combination would go really well alongside some ribs—-and a perfect addition to your Father’s Day grill menu.
- 2 pounds fingerling potatoes
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon pepper
- ½ cup creme fraiche
- 1½ tablespoons lemon juice
- Kernels from 3 ears of corn
- 3 ounces blue cheese, crumbled
- 3 tablespoons lemon zest
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- ¼ cup finely chopped fresh Italian parsley
- 1½ tablespoons finely chopped fresh tarragon
- 1½ tablespoons finely chopped fresh chives
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Toss potatoes together with the olive oil, salt, and pepper in a large bowl; transfer to a large baking sheet and roast 45 minutes. Cool potatoes to room temperature.
- Whisk together the creme fraiche, lemon juice, lemon zest, and garlic in a large bowl. Add potatoes, corn, and blue cheese and toss well to combine. Season with additional salt and pepper if desired. Mix together the Italian parsley, tarragon, and chives in a small bowl. Sprinkle herb mixture over salad and serve.