Before summer ends, make sure to try some of our favorite and most popular warm weather recipes. They’re recipes that are light and refreshing but still flavorful, that showcase summer produce at its peak and that keep us coming back for more.
As we head into Labor Day weekend, find three menus to try for each day of the long weekend, or mix and match from now until summer’s end. (And don’t despair too much. Comfort food season is on deck and it’s going to be a good one.)
For a mix of new favorites and old standbys that each deliver on flavor in a unique way, try some or all of this collection of Milk Street recipes:
This recipe relies on tare, a multipurpose seasoning liquid made by combining high-impact ingredients for umami-rich flavor. We also first slash the chicken to allow fat to render and the seasoning to soak in.
In this recipe, we use slender Chinese or Japanese eggplants, halved and grilled until charred and tender, then finish them with nước chấm (the ubiquitous Vietnamese dressing made with fish sauce, lime, sugar, chilies and garlic) along with quick-pickled vegetables, chopped peanuts and plenty of fresh herbs.
At a Taipei night market, vendors use rotisseries to cook corn brushed with lard and richly colored shacha sauce. In our recipe, we turn to the backyard grill to cook ears of corn still in their husks. That way, the kernels steam and become tender before the cobs are basted with savory oyster sauce, Worcestershire and gochujang.
For a pasta salad that won't turn soggy, we use non-instant dried ramen (that is, not the kind sold 10 packages for a dollar), which are chewier, bouncier and more resilient because they're made with kansui, a blend of alkaline salts. If Italian pasta is the only type of noodle available, we have a trick for “ramenizing” it.
Smashing cucumbers helps release their seeds and creates rough surfaces for the dressing to cling to in this refreshing, savory, crunchy salad that goes well with just about everything.
It's easy to see why these sweet-salty, chewy-crunchy cookies were one of our most popular new recipes this summer. Umami-rich white miso makes the cookies taste full and complex.
For a fast meal with few ingredients that you can throw together, try these COOKish recipes below. (Learn more about our COOKish cookbook, coming out this fall.
To give these burgers spicy-sweet flavor and mild garlickiness, we mix Asian chili-garlic sauce and a little brown sugar into the ground pork. We also smear the buns with a chili-garlic mayonnaise.
This creamy yet light pasta dish, loosely based on a recipe from “Mastering Pasta” by Marc Vetri and David Joachim, is delicious made with frozen corn kernels, but it’s even better with peak-season fresh corn.
In this twist on an American classic, we add tahini to boost flavor in a buttery oat mixture that bakes on top of juicy blueberries. Be sure to use quick-cooking oats; old-fashioned oats won’t soften quite enough.
Or, for recipes from some of our closest friends and most trusted chefs, try these recipes:
These burgers are inspired by the best-loved menu item a bar called the Del Rio in Ann Arbor, Michigan—Sara Moulton's first professional cooking job. She swapped in fresh ingredients for the canned originals to find a winning combination of fresh mushrooms, Mediterranean olives, green chilies and sharp cheddar cheese. But the real secret? Steaming the patties in beer.
Since it's difficult to find flavorful tomatoes no matter the season, try using sumac, a citrusy spice, to bring tomatoes to life alongside red onion, garlic and fresh herbs. For added color and flavor contrast, add diced or coarsely crumbled feta cheese. “Sumac adds to the salad and gives it a bit of sharpness, some personality, so it’s more than just tomatoes,” says Reem Kassis, author of “The Palestinian Table.”
This salad—adapted from a recipe in Pierre Thiam’s cookbook, “Yolele!"—is a great accompaniment to anything on the grill. It's a refreshing combination of sweet, sour, spicy and herbal flavors, punctuated by rof, a Senegalese mixture of parsley, scallions, chilies and garlic.
This is our adaptation of a recipe from Vivian Howard's “Deep Run Roots” that transforms sweet summer corn into a light, elegant dessert. Fresh corn is best, as the kernels are tender and succulent; you'll need three ears to yield the 2 cups kernels. Frozen corn kernels work, too, but make sure to fully thaw them, then pat dry with paper towels to remove excess moisture.