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11 Easy Grilling Recipes for Dining Al Fresco This Summer

11 Easy Grilling Recipes for Dining Al Fresco This Summer

After a few years of pandemic seclusion, preparing an intimate gathering al fresco with friends is literally music to our ears. And with summer around the corner, it’s also time to officially welcome in grilling season. With hot (and in some states humid) days ahead, the last thing any of us want to do is cook around a hot stove. Nope, we’re planning on taking our grilling recipes outside—on your balcony, patio, local park, beach, or shared front yard at your apartment block—whatever that looks like for you, just as long as you’re eating it under the sun or the stars. 

So to officially celebrate this much-loved season, we’re sharing six of our favorite grilling recipes. From chicken and vegetable skewers to seafood paella and fish tacos, these recipes for grilling are a feast for the senses. Pick one or two of your favorites and whip them out for Memorial Day or Father’s Day, or just because! We know there are at least two grilling recipes below you’ll be making all summer long. 

CHARRED AND RAW CORN SALAD WITH TOMATILLO RELISH

Prepping corn is one of my favorite ways to get everyone involved with cooking: My yard is often filled with kids shucking poolside as reggae blasts from speakers on the deck. In Amagansett, we buy ours by the bushel from Balsam Farms. It never needs butter or salt, and we often eat it raw or charred on the grill. This salad lets you have it both ways. The recipe came about almost by accident. I was making tomatillo salsa and had no idea that tomatillos were supposed to be roasted first. I chopped them up raw and let them macerate in vinegar with some scallions—and I was blown away by the delicious result. I tossed the salsa with some corn as a little taste test, and just like that, a salad was born! You simply can’t go wrong with grilling recipes this easy and delicious. 

11 Easy Grilling Recipes for Dining Al Fresco This Summer
11 Easy Grilling Recipes for Dining Al Fresco This Summer

CHARRED EGGPLANT WITH ZA’ATAR AND YOGURT-TAHINI

Eggplant on the grill is a favorite in our household. Its firm skin protects its creamy interior but practically melts away in the heat of the fire. These veggies absorb just about anything they come in contact with, making them a great vehicle for a variety of favors. Here za’atar and a thyme and sesame-based Middle Eastern spice blend lend the vegetable both tangy and aromatic notes. The yogurt-tahini sauce, meanwhile, provides deeply nutty and cooling accents. Finally, sumac, a lemony herb that’s also a mainstay of Middle Eastern cuisine, brightens the dish with a hit of acid. And if you feel like switching things up—or have a glut of squash in your garden—this recipe can also be prepared with zucchini in place of eggplant.

Grilled White Fish With Tomato, Corn, & Basil

This grilled white fish recipe is so easy and delicious that I make it at least once or twice a week for my family, especially at the end of summer. Because of its carefree nature, this meal really celebrates the season and allows us to hold onto the last moments of summer before winter sets in. Don’t skimp on making the quintessential raw summer salad of tomato, corn, and basil either. These sweet farm-fresh ingredients will only be around this time of year so you should likely make this recipe now!

11 Easy Grilling Recipes for Dining Al Fresco This Summer
11 Easy Grilling Recipes for Dining Al Fresco This Summer

Grilled Clams With Japaeño-Herb Butter

If there is any one dish that embodies the low-ley essence of summer by the sea, it might just be grilled clams. We are fortunate to live super close to the bay beach, so raking up these bad boys for a last-minute feast is practically effortless. After throwing them in a woven bag, into my bike basket they go, only to be tossed into a smoking grill—it’s a meal in minutes. Once the clams are cooked, I dot them with scrumptious herb=flecked jalapeño butter, which melts into their briny juices to form a delicious sauce. You’ll want to sop up every last drop with some toasted baguette, which might just be the most delicious part. 

Cedar-Grilled Halibut With Preserved Lemon and Fennel Relish

I love grilling on a cedar plank—the wood provides a stable surface on which to gently steam any hearty fish, keeping it tender and moist while infusing it with a fantastic, woodsy flavor. Here, I pair halibut with a preserved lemon and fennel relish that I came up with while riffing and playing in a friend’s kitchen—my favorite way to cook. My son, for one, is obsessed with the combination. Either way, be sure to soak your cedar plank in water for at least an hour before placing it on the grill so that it doesn’t dry out and burn during cooking.

11 Easy Grilling Recipes for Dining Al Fresco This Summer

Charred Endive with Warm Garlic-Caper Lemon Sauce

This recipe couldn’t be simpler but the resulting flavors are anything but. It can also be cooked on an outdoor grill or indoor stove top grill pan with similar explosive effects on your tastebuds. 

GRILLED RIB-EYE WITH BURST TOMATOES AND CHIMICHURRI

This delicious rib-eye is given that vibrant summer twist with burst cherry tomatoes on the vine that add visual flavor as much as they do on the tongue. The fresh Chimichurri is what really sets it apart. 

GRILLED SEAFOOD PAELLA

Nothing says summer quite like a seafood paella (or any paella for that matter!). This is the perfect meal to make with an intimate gathering, get everyone involved, and sip on your favorite beverage while the fresh aroma fills the sunburnt air. Just before serving, squeeze the lemon halves over the paella and sprinkle with parsley. Yum!

YOGURT MARINATED CHICKEN AND ARTICHOKE SKEWERS WITH HERBED DRESSING

You know its grilling season when the skewers come out. This recipe alternates chicken on the sewers with asparagus, artichokes, and cherry tomatoes but you can use whatever summer produce you prefer or have in the fridge. You may also cook the chicken in a skillet if needed. Serve with homemade lemon herb vinaigrette and herbed yogurt.

HERB BOUQUET BRANZINO

Fennel, thyme, chives, and lavender make up the herb bouquet for this delightful summer Branzino recipe with a pinch of habanero pepper. They’re a feast for all the senses. 

FISH TACOS WITH PICKLED CABBAGE & PINEAPPLE SALSA

The key to this recipe is the fresh marinade for the fish before grilling it. Think cilantro, cumin, and habanero with lime and orange zest for a spicy, tangy seasoning. Add the pineapple salsa and avocado cream when you build your taco and now you’re in flavor country. 

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