If you’re entertaining this summer, whether for an intimate soirée or feeding a crowd, here’s an easy menu you can double – triple – to suit your party.
And, when it comes to a crowd, the best tips come from chefs who also happen to create catering menus, which, in our minds, is about as crowded as it can get.
We asked Toben Kochman, the chef behind Toben Food by Design, and his sister, Elana, to help us satiate our crowd’s appetite. Toben is an alumnus of Cordon Bleu School of Culinary Arts in Paris, so he knows food. But here’s the twist. We want it light, and we want it healthy. Toben prefers locally sourced ingredients that he can mix into vitamin-rich salads and family-style dishes.
“Food is what I know. Summer is our busiest time of the year, allowing us to express our creativity with so many fresh ingredients, by capitalizing on summer’s harvest,” he says.
And share, they do. One of the most raved about dishes this season is grilled whole sicilian branzino with shaved fennel, lemon, orange and grapefruit, says the chef. He also suggests you complete the meal by pairing it with refreshing watermelon and tomato salad with fresh mint, charred corn and feta, then drizzled with a basil vinaigrette.
WATERMELON-TOMATO SALAD – MAKES: 4 PORTIONS
- 2 ¼ cup of watermelon, 1 inch diced
- ¾ cup of heirloom red and yellow cherry tomatoes, halved
- 2 tbsp of fresh mint, roughly chopped
- ½ cup of red onion, julienne long (cut very thin)
- 6 gm of pickled red finger chili or jalapenos, thinly sliced
- 125 ml basil-cider vinaigrette (see recipe below)
- ½ cup of feta cheese – crumbled
- ¾ cup of grilled corn kernels
- 1 cup of black beans, cooked
GRILLED WHOLE SICILLIAN BRANZINO
Makes 4 main course servings
- 4 whole Branzino fish (sometimes referred to as European Sea Bass), scales and innards removed
- 4 cups fennel, shaved on a mandolin
- ½ cup fennel fronds, rough chopped
- 1 whole lemon, zested and juiced
- 2 whole lemons, sliced into ½ cm thick rounds
- ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1 ½ tbsp salt
- ½ tsp black pepper
- 3 whole oranges, peeled and sliced into segments
- 3 whole grapefruit, peeled and sliced into segments