As you may have noticed, Cooks Without Borders is all about crafting the crazy-good: creating or hunting down recipes and refining them until they're brilliant. Not only do these recipes have to work, and work well (as we're pretty sure all our recipes do!) they have to result in dishes so delicious they could glue you to the ceiling. That's when I stop tweaking: We're pretty confident that they're crazy-good.
Here's are 12 stand-out (yes, crazy good!) summer recipes, listed in order of how you'd eat 'em – from starters through desserts:
In the height of tomato season, our version of the cool classic soup from Southern Spain is a stunner. Follow it with Chiringuito Seafood Paella (see below) and you've got a smashing Spanish feast.
Didn't manage to swing that vacation in Provence (again!) this year? No matter: Invite friends over, sip glasses of rosé and serve them this amazing onion-anchovy tart.
Quinoa, Pea and Mint Tabbouleh
This recipe from Zahav: A World of Israeli Cooking, needed no tweaking – chef Michael Solomonov's dish is brilliant as written. I'd only suggest doubling it so you have at least a slight chance of leftovers.
Totally Awesome Caesar Salad
I spent decades thinking the classic recipe for Caesar salad couldn't be improved upon. I was wrong. This one plays up the coddled egg angle – to delicious effect. Awesome Caesar and burgers on the grill, anyone?
Warm Summer Salad Without Borders
Got zucchini? This warm summer salad capitalizes on your favorite (and most abundant) summer produce: tomatoes, okra, summer squash, sweet corn. Don't like okra? Leave it out: The salad – great as a starter, main course, side or garnish for grilled fish or meats – is super-customizable. Give it a modern Tex-Mex/Mexican accent, or Greek, or Italian.
Chiringuito Seafood Paella
One of my favorite summer dinners is seafood paella cooked outside on a grill, and this recipe – adapted from Anya Von Bremzen's The New Spanish Table – is my favorite version. Start with a few tapas, then Gazpacho Sevillano, and you've got yourself a virtual vacation in Spain.
The Chicken that Killed Grandpa
Easy to put together, this one-dish main course takes full advantage of summer's bounty.
Grilled Butterflied Leg of Lamb
Berry and Peach Crisp
This is the crisp that will turn any non-baker into a dessert genius: super-easy and crazy-good.
Stone Fruit Tart with Thyme
Peaches, plums, nectarines, apricot: Whatever stone fruit's the ripest and most delicious at the moment goes onto the super-tender and buttery short crust at this base of this gorgeous tart.