Wherever you are, summer is a time to savor longer days and lazy weekends. Fresh produce abounds, and life moves at a more relaxed pace. Anna Pump, proprietor of the iconic Loaves & Fishes store on Long Island, has catered to a devoted clientele of Hamptons weekenders for more than twenty-five years and understands summer's rhythms. She kws that while you may want to enjoy a picnic on the beach or a late supper on the porch, you don't want to spend the entire day in the kitchen, painstakingly preparing elaborate dishes. In Summer on a Plate she shares more than 120 recipes for delicious, -fuss, memorable meals that celebrate the bounty of summer. Anna never confuses simple with ordinary. A distinctive first course of Avocado Mousse and Shrimp on Tortilla Chips comes together in a flash. Chilled Tomato and Cucumber Soup with Seasoned Croutons makes a light and refreshing midday meal, and Spicy Corn Fritters with Salmon Caviar Dip are just the thing to set out for your weekend guests when a sunny Saturday on the beach turns into breezy evening on the deck. Many dishes can go straight from the grill to the table, like Grilled Tenderloin of Beef with Fresh Herb Sauce or Perfect Whole Grilled Chicken with Plum Chutney. In the mood for seafood? Halibut Baked with Olives, Lemons, and Fresh Basil is a snap to prepare and full of fresh flavors. And what would summer be without salads? Serve Black Mission Figs with Goat Cheese and Upland Cress to begin a dinner party, while the Magret of Duck and Wild Rice Salad or the Asian-Flavor Beef, Pepper, and Spinach Salad are meals in themselves. If your favorite part of the meal is dessert (like Anna!) you won't be disappointed. Chocolate Chunk Orange Cake is a sweet ending to any meal (or even a sweet breakfast) and is just as satisfying with a cup of midafteron coffee. Rhubarb Blueberry Pie or a Peach Tart with Almond Topping and a Cookie Crust take advantage of the best of summer fruits. The Coconut Lemon Layer Cake is a showstopper, or you can opt for a simple dish of dead-ripe berries lavished with a dollop of Creme Fraiche. Put summer on your plate and enjoy everything the season has to offer.
Alan Richardson is an award-winning photographer and designer whose work has appeared in Bon Appetit, Gourmet, Saveur, Food & Wine, and The New York Times Magazine. He has done the photography for countless cookbooks and is the co-author of The Four Seasons of Italian Cooking. He lives in New York City.