When planning a menu for a party, you will never go wrong by opting for seasonal cooking, meaning that your dishes feature ingredients that are currently in season. The month of August is abundant with a delicious and colorful array of fresh foods, from courgettes and tomatoes to halibut and berries, so here are a few seasonal dish ideas to help you with your menu planning.
Roasted Beet Hummus
There is so much beetroot to be found in August, and this root vegetable brings so many health benefits with it. A beetroot hummus is a great way to prepare this ingredient for a party, as its flavor is quite mild rather than overbearing, meaning that even those who do not usually like beets will most likely enjoy this dish. Adding in extra lemon, garlic and olive oil also helps to temper the strong flavor of the beetroot, and it can be served up with anything from bread to carrot sticks.
Grilled Corn, Mexican Style
If you are hosting an outdoor party in August, then grilled corn is an absolute must. Adding in some Mexican flavorings, such as chilli, cilantro and lime, will give this dish the kick that it needs to really help it to stand out. When it comes to actually grilling the corn, there are several different ways in which you can do this, from wrapping it in foil to keeping it in its husk to grilling it without its husk or any foil. Each method will have its pros and cons, so it would be worth trying each one out in advance to see which works best for you.
August is the perfect month to be eating zucchini, but many fussy guests may have a problem with the texture of this vegetable. In order to keep it crisp and crunchy, zucchini fries are a great option, and can easily be adapted to be vegan as well if you leave out the Parmesan coating. These fries can be made in the oven, making them healthy too, and are a great hearty side dish for any party.
Pan-Fried Pacific Halibut with a Spicy Mustard Sauce
While halibut is in season during the month of August, Atlantic halibut has been severely depleted due to over-fishing, so make sure that it is only Pacific halibut that you buy. Halibut is packed with nutrients and does not have a strong fishy flavor, making it great for those who do not usually love seafood. While there are several ways in which you can cook this firm-fleshed fish, pan-frying it, along with some cherry tomatoes, is always a tasty option, especially if you top this with a spicy mustard sauce, fennel seeds and purple basil.
Strawberry and Blackberry Pie
Nothing quite beats fresh summer berries, and one of the best ways to make use of any extra ones is by baking them up in a sweet, fruity pie. This strawberry and blackberry pie is as tasty as it looks, and is relatively simple to make. The best part about this recipe is that it can be adapted to whichever summer berries you may happen to have on hand, whether this may be blueberries, raspberries or redcurrants.
Making use of seasonal ingredients means that the produce that you use in your dishes will be so much fresher. Try to purchase your ingredients from a local farmers market rather than a grocery store, as this will not only ensure their freshness, but will also mean that your ingredients are likely to be so much more flavorful too.