Gail Simmons’ Secrets to Easy-Breezy Summer Cooking
By Beth Lipton
We always want to cook crowd-pleasing, chef-worthy food, easily and effortlessly—but especially in the summer. #Goals, right?
So we turned to one of our favorite experts: Gail Simmons. The Top Chef judge shared two of her fave summer dishes from her cookbook Bringing It Home (below) and chatted with us about what makes them special, and how to make them yours, stress-free.
“In the summertime, you want to be out in the sunshine, spending time with your family, not sweating over a hot stove,” Simmons tells Clean Plates. “Especially for summer entertaining, keeping it simple is important.”
One way to do this is to look at recipes with a fresh eye. “Be more loose with your recipes,” she says. “Not the technique per se, but with the ingredients. Most cooks are either really improvisational or really by-the-recipe. Learning to be a really good home cook and learning to be the least stressed in your cooking is to be somewhere in the middle. Look at a recipe and then make simple ingredient exchanges. Making a filet of fish and cooking a hangar steak is the same technique, so it’s freeing to be able to look at a recipe and look beyond the exact ingredient list.
“Use basic recipes that you can alter in 5 different ways,” she adds. “Do them your way. Don’t be afraid to stray from the path.”
Here are two of hers, with an inside look at how she elevated them. Make them as is, or add your own spin.
Gail says: “The batter in these pancakes is really simple, fun and easy. It’s great for kids but sophisticated enough to make for adults. It has lots of lemon zest, and buckwheat flour, which is really hearty and healthful, and gives a really nutty flavor to the pancakes. “The bumbleberries are key,” she adds. “It’s…
Gail says: “It’s an everything salad, and it’s interchangeable—you don’t have to be fussy about it. There’s no lettuce, so it keeps really well; it doesn’t get soggy, so you can take it on a picnic. And you can add other vegetables, or swap some—it would be great with asparagus, or fennel. You could even…
BIO: Beth Lipton is a contributing editor at Clean Plates.
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