These easy breezy appetizers are perfect for summer—not just because they're light and simple, but because they make the most of ripe summer produce.
1. Buttermilk Fried Green Beans
2. Chile Cilantro Guacamole
Classic guacamole is fabulous, but so is this version with fresh roasted green chiles and a hit of cilantro.
3. Corn Fritters
Sweet, delicate, and super simple, these Corn Fritters are a tasty starter indeed. They can also play the leading role in a lighter summer supper. Or try lacy, light, and lovely Zucchini Fritters, a better-than-average way to use the scads of zucchini that start flowing out of gardens and flooding markets as summer wears on. In either case, be sure to whip up a batch of Cilantro Mint Chutney to go with them.
4. Crispy Eggplant Sticks
Inspired by the fried eggplant served at Galatoire's in New Orleans, these Crispy Eggplant Sticks are best served with a splash of Tabasco and some powdered sugar to dredge the sticks in. Sounds weird, tastes delicious.
5. Fried Zucchini Blossoms
Make these Fried Zucchini Blossoms right before serving them&mdasha lot of their appeal is the fresh, hot, crispiness of their coating once cooked.
6. Green Garlic Egg Radish Crostini
These colorful and flavorful Green Garlic Radish Crostini can be prepped ahead of time and put on the slices of bread just before serving. Or try these Sweet Pea Crostini. Blanch and lightly mash the peas and shred the cheese ahead of time and assemble theses bright green treats when you're ready to serve them.
7. Grilled Eggplant Dip
Pop a whole eggplant or two on the grill and then quickly turn them into this delicious Grilled Eggplant Dip, perfect with crackers, pita, or veggies.
8. Homemade Salsa
Fresh, homemade salsas are an easy way to work lots of summer flavor into any meal. Salsa Fresca is the classic, but Grilled Tomatillo Salsa, Plum Mint Salsa (pictured), Corn Avocado Salsa, and Strawberry Poblano Salsa are all excellent options, too. They all involve some chopping and not much else.
This Romensco can be a sauce for grilled meats or veggies, but also makes a delicious dip. Best of all, it is made from seasonal sweet red peppers and ripe tomatoes (along with garlic, chiles, almonds, and seasonings).