This summer — unofficially kicking off this weekend with Memorial Day! — take your picnics up a notch by packing something more substantial than fruit and cheese.
Sure, prepared dishes are often a pain because you have to schlep around cutlery and plates. But chef and food stylist Lisa Lemke has the answer. In her gorgeous new cookbook, “The Summer Table,” you’ll find mouthwatering, warm-weather appropriate recipes for just about any type of al fresco gathering you plan.
And if you haven’t planned anything, the seriously stunning pictures in her book will inspire you to hit the farmer’s market and fire up the grill.
For picnics, the foodie recommends her Crispy Hoisin Chicken, which doesn’t require utensils really. Just wrap a piece of foil or waxed paper around the bone end of a chicken thigh, she says, to create “the perfect finger food.”
2 large cloves of garlic
3/4 cup hoisin sauce
4 tablespoons light soy sauce
2 teaspoons chile paste or other chile or hot sauce
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 teaspoons salt
4 large bone-in chicken thighs
Directions: For the marinade, finely chop or grate the garlic and combine with the rest of the ingredients in a bowl. Place the chicken thighs in a heavy food-safe plastic bag, pour in the marinade, tie the bag, and shake it so that the marinade covers all the thighsevenly. Cool in the fridge for at least two hours. Turn the bag several times while it’s marinating.
Remove the chicken from the fridge while you preheat the oven to 425°F. Place the chicken thighs on a baking sheet and roast them in the middle of the oven for about 35 minutes, or until they are cooked all the way through. To crisp the skin, once the chicken is cooked through switch the oven to the broiler setting and cook until the thighs aregolden brown and crispy.
If the chicken is browning too quickly before it’s completely cooked, you can cover it with aluminum foil.
Reprinted with permission from The Summer Table published in 2015 by Sterling Epicure. Text © Lisa Lemke. Photography by Asa Dahlgren.