This easy party menu makes summer classics extra special

By David Tanis, The New York Times

Summer cooking should be a breeze, more pleasure than chore. So keep it simple. Have a simple salad, something for the grill, a homey fruit dessert. If you can find someone to help with the preparation, so much the better.

This menu, relying on fresh summer produce, is easy to accomplish and yields a refreshingly light, flavorful meal.

For an utterly summery first course, consider a shaved zucchini salad. The idea is very thinly sliced, very fresh zucchini or other summer squash, lightly dressed with salt, lime juice and olive oil, and finished with lots of basil, mint and crumbly creamy feta. It’s extremely refreshing and takes no time to make. Adding strips of squash blossom for a colorful garnish is nice, as are other edible blossoms like nasturtium or calendula.

The farmers’ market is where you’ll find the best-tasting choices for summer squash. I prefer not-too-small, not-too-big specimens, shiny, smooth and unblemished. They’re worth seeking out.

For a casual hot-weather main, whether lunch or dinner, I like spicy lamb burgers with tahini sauce, inspired by the Eastern Mediterranean.

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