Summer Beach Food

After last winter’s woes—Fairfield County deserves a long, sun-kissed summer, and we’re looking forward to relaxing with our toes in the sand, salty air breezes and picnics near the water!  These quick, make-ahead recipes from our friends at Marcia Selden Catering will make summer eating what it should be—a day at the beach!

Cold Pressed Panini

A fresh loaf of sliced ciabatta bread, our delicious eggplant caponata, slices of honey ham, and grilled veggies (from the salad bar) make a hearty beach-friendly sandwich.  Make sure you slice the sandwich beforehand.

Caponata can also be served with pita chips if you don’t want a sandwich.

  • 4 Tbs.olive oil
  • 1 lb. eggplant, unpeeled, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 1 medium onion, finely diced
  • 4 large garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 14 1/2-oz. can diced tomatoes with Italian seasonings, drain juice
  • 3 Tbs. red wine vinegar
  • 2 Tbs. drained capers
  • 1/3 C.chopped fresh basil
  • ¼  C. chopped flat leaf parsley
  • Kosher salt and pepper to taste
  • ⅓ C. Toasted pine nuts

Heat oil in heavy large pot over medium heat. Add eggplant, onion, and garlic cloves. Sauté until eggplant is soft and brown, about 15 minutes. Add diced tomatoes, red wine vinegar and capers. Cover and simmer until eggplant and onion are tender, stirring occasionally, about 12 minutes. Season caponata to taste with salt and pepper. Add chopped basil and parsley. Transfer caponata to serving bowl and toss in toasted pine nuts. (Caponata can be made 2 days ahead. Cover and chill.)

Mixed Grain Salad

This salad comes together quickly with the help of a few market helpers.  Many stores offer cooked lentils, frozen quinoa and brown rice, which equals absolutely zero cooking time for you!

  • 1 C. each-cooked lentils, quinoa, jasmine or brown rice
  • ½ C. garbanzo beans
  • ½ C. shelled edamame
  • ½ C. red pepper, chopped
  • ½ C. corn kernels
  • ½ C. diced English cucumber
  • ¼ C. toasted walnut pieces
  • handful of flat leaf parsley, chopped
  • juice from 1 lemon
  • 1 Tbs. Zatar seasoning
  • ½ C. good quality extra virgin olive oil
  • Kosher salt and pepper to taste

Combine all ingredients in a large bowl and toss to combine.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.  This salad can be made a couple hours in advance and kept in the refrigerator until ready to eat.

*Add 1 C. of flaked Spanish or Italian tuna packed in olive oil (Ortiz Bonito Del Norte or Progresso are good brands) or a piece of cooked salmon, for a delicious addition.

Tropical Fruit Skewers

Take advantage of in-season colorful, juicy, sweet fruit. Get it while it lasts!

Thread the blackberry, mango, pineapple, watermelon, honeydew and kiwi alternately, placing at least two pieces of each fruit on the skewer. Place in plastic container in fridge or cooler until ready to eat.

Marcia Selden Catering has been creating unique events with an accent on extraordinary food, creativity, and highly polished professional service. The business is a family affair. From her Stamford headquarters, Marcia, with daughter Robin, son Jeffrey, and a team of dedicated and experienced party planners and chefs, work together to create “dream” events. They understand that a great party celebrates life’s milestones and believe in the host’s privilege to avoid stress and enjoy every minute. We are proud supporters of marriage equality. Whatever your desire, whether it’s a low-key clambake on the beach, a lavish over-the-top wedding, or anything in between, they will create a special memory that you and your guests will remember for years.

Marcia Selden Catering and Event Planning, 65 Research Drive, Stamford, 203 353-8000

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