This is a lovely meal for a warm summer night. To round it out, offer a local cheese and some black olives as an appetizer. For dessert, buy a quart of ripe local strawberries and turn them into a simple sauce to spoon over vanilla or coconut ice cream.

GRILLED MUSTARD-SCALLION CHICKEN BREASTS ON MESCLUN

The mustard protects the lean chicken from the heat, helping to prevent it from drying out, and the scallions char nicely, adding to the smoky flavor of the meat.

Servings: 4

4 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves (5 to 6 ounces each)

2 tablespoons olive oil

2 tablespoons Dijon mustard

1 tablespoon lemon juice

2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce

1/4 teaspoon dried red pepper flakes

3 tablespoons thinly sliced scallions

4 small handfuls mesclun

Flatten chicken breasts to an even thickness of about an inch. In a shallow dish, combine olive oil, mustard, lemon juice, Worcestershire and pepper flakes. Stir in scallions. Add chicken and turn to coat evenly. Cover and refrigerate, turning occasionally, for at least 1 hour or up to 6 hours.

Build a medium-hot charcoal fire or preheat a gas grill. Grill chicken, turning once or twice and brushing often with the marinade, until meat is white throughout but still juicy, 10 to 15 minutes.

Slice chicken on the sharp diagonal, arrange over mesclun, and serve with the aioli sauce.

EASY AIOLI

This is a quick version of the classic Provencal garlic mayonnaise.

Servings: 4

2 small garlic cloves

1/4 teaspoon kosher salt, plus additional to taste

1/2 cup mayonnaise

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 teaspoon grated lemon zest

1 tablespoon lemon juice

Freshly ground black pepper

Crush garlic, then combine with the salt and mash to a paste using the side of a large knife or a mortar and pestle. Combine in a bowl with the mayonnaise. Whisk in the olive oil, lemon zest and juice, and season with salt and pepper. Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour to blend flavors.

SPICED VEGETABLE COUSCOUS

Couscous, that tiny little eastern Mediterranean pasta, is an amazingly versatile starch. If the day is very warm, turn this into a salad by adding diced fresh cucumber or other crunchy vegetables and then dressing with some lemon juice and additional olive oil.

Servings: About 5

3 tablespoons olive oil

1 medium zucchini, halved lengthwise, seeds removed, diced

1 medium yellow squash, halved lengthwise, seeds removed, diced

1 cup diced red onion

1 cup diced red bell pepper

1 teaspoon curry powder

3/4 teaspoon ground cumin

1/3 teaspoon cayenne pepper

2 cups water, broth or a combination

1 teaspoon salt

1 box (10 ounces) couscous

Freshly ground black pepper

In a large skillet, heat the oil. Add squash, onion and bell pepper and cook over medium to medium-high heat until just softened, about 6 minutes. Add curry powder and cumin and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes. Stir in cayenne.

In a large saucepan, bring water or broth to a boil. Add salt and couscous, stir once with a fork, cover and remove from heat. Let stand for 5 minutes until couscous is tender. Fluff with a fork, stir in cooked vegetables, season to taste, and serve.

 

Brooke Dojny is a Beard Award-winning author or co-author of more than a dozen cookbooks, most recently “Dishing Up Maine” (Storey Publishing 2006) and “The New England Clam Shack Cookbook” (Storey 2008). She lives on the Blue Hill peninsula.