Memorial Day Recipes

Easy dishes for the official kickoff to summer.


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Memorial Day Recipes

Memorial Day Recipes

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The quality of your ingredients counts for a lot here. Don’t bother making ketchup until you can get luscious, ripe tomatoes. Grape tomatoes work, but feel free to use plum tomatoes instead. You want a meaty tomato for this, so save delicate heirlooms for salads. Many ketchup recipes call for loads of spices, but this one is kept simple with just a little black pepper and Worcestershire sauce for complexity — a close approximation to that inimitable flavor of classic Heinz, without the high-fructose corn syrup. (Photo: Andrew Scrivani for The New York Times)

This is a Yankee take on the classic French recipe for beurre de homard, which incorporates cooked lobster meat into a compound butter. It is thriftier, using the shells to bring flavor instead of the lobster meat, but is no less delicious for that. The process is akin to making a lobster stock, with butter in place of water. Use the lobster butter as a melted dip for shrimp or yet more lobster, or as a topping for sautéed scallops or fish. (Photo: Melina Hammer for The New York Times)

This is my cover-band take on a dish served one spring at the restaurant Joe Beef in Montreal, which paired an enormous quantity of chilled steamed Canadian shrimp, bright and sweet, with a tureen of lobster butter. It was a dark and clouded sauce, slightly yellow, slightly green. We dipped and ate – sweet shrimp meat against deep salinity and velvet sauciness – and it was like hearing a hit song for the very first time, addictive from the start. We dipped everything in lobster butter that night. We’re still at it now. (Photo: Melina Hammer for The New York Times)

For the American cook in summer, the composed salad is a back-pocket lunch or dinner that can be endlessly reinvented and served to many people at any time. It shows off the intense, irresistible vegetables, herbs and fruits of the season — but can also have rich components like cheese, eggs, toasted nuts and smoked fish or meat. With a loaf of (preferably grilled) bread, it is a meal in itself. (Photo: Sabra Krock for The New York Times)

This simple, not-too-sweet tart is reminiscent of a cheesecake but with a higher crust-to-filling ratio. If you’ve got excellent, ripe fruit, feel free to lay it on top — berries, figs, poached rhubarb or pears, pineapple, plums — anything sweet and juicy will contrast nicely with the milky ricotta filling. (Photo: Andrew Scrivani for The New York Times)

Homemade garlic aioli gives this otherwise classic potato salad a pungent kick. If you don’t want to add the hard-cooked eggs, use another 1/2 pound of potatoes instead. (Photo: Andrew Scrivani for The New York Times)

Bruised apricots, smashed berries and or overripe pears are just some of the fruit that can be made into a shrub, a tart drinkable vinegar that is softened with sugar and time. The base needs to sit overnight, and the shrub, once it’s all put together, mellows and changes with more time in the refrigerator. Herbs, peppercorns and vegetables can be added to the basic formula to create endless variations. Other vinegars may be substituted. When in doubt, apple cider vinegar is a good fall back. (Photo: Rikki Snyder for The New York Times)

These easy fudge pops, with a mix of cream and milk, combine the fun of an ice cream truck Popsicle with the sophistication of a rich chocolate ice cream touched with salt. The key is making sure the ingredients are well-emulsified in a blender. These will melt quickly so enjoy them right out of the freezer. (Photo: Amber Fouts for The New York Times)

Spiedies — grilled skewers of meat marinated in what amounts to Italian dressing — are a culinary mainstay of bars and roadhouses in and around Binghamton, N.Y. What follows is a recipe for the marinade used to prepare them for the fire. (Photo: Melina Hammer for The New York Times)

A surefire way to make lemonade even more refreshing is to pour it over watermelon ice cubes. This recipe takes some time — the watermelon cubes have to freeze — but almost no effort. If necessary, seed the watermelon before you cut it into chunks and put it in the blender. Cut it lengthwise into quarters, slice off the “heart” of each quarter to expose the row of seeds and remove them with the tines of a fork. (Photo: Sam Kaplan for The New York Times)

This silky, luscious and very classic custard can be used as the base for any ice cream flavor you can dream up. These particular proportions of milk and cream to egg yolk will give you a thick but not sticky ice cream that feels decadent but not heavy. For something a little lighter, use more milk and less cream, as long as the dairy adds up to 3 cups.

This simple, not-too-sweet tart is reminiscent of a cheesecake but with a higher crust-to-filling ratio. If you’ve got excellent, ripe fruit, feel free to lay it on top — berries, figs, poached rhubarb or pears, pineapple, plums — anything sweet and juicy will contrast nicely with the milky ricotta filling. Or just drizzle the tart with good flavorful honey and serve it plain. It’s an elegant way to end a meal. (Photo: Andrew Scrivani for The New York Times)

This dish is sort of a summery tiramisù. The creamy mascarpone and ladyfinger layers in tiramisù are a natural with strawberries. But the espresso is too overbearing to match well with the sweet fruit. What to do? Swap out the liquid. Moscato d’Asti, a lightly sweet and fizzy wine, works here. Drizzle more of the wine on just before serving. It adds just the right brightness and verve. (Photo: Andrew Scrivani for The New York Times)

I set out to make something more like a sherbet, a mango lassi ice. I calculated the amount of sweetening needed for the right texture and flavor in a blend of buttermilk and mango. As a general rule, the sugar in fruit ice should be 15 to 20 percent of the weight of the fruit. This time, I used honey instead of sugar. The result is a creamy, tangy sherbet. (Photo: Andrew Scrivani for The New York Times)

This sorbet is tangy and not very sweet. I added only enough sugar and corn syrup to allow the mixture to freeze properly without developing ice crystals. (Photo: Andrew Scrivani for The New York Times)

A well-constructed homemade hot fudge sauce moves forward with dark smoky accents and arrives with plenty of chew. High-fat cocoa and a couple of chunks of bittersweet chocolate cooked in sugar and cream make all that possible, without a double boiler. (Photo: Daniel van Ackere for The New York Times)

With Vietnamese-American communities thriving in Texas cities, delicious mashups were inevitable, like this summer roll stuffed with glass noodles, fresh herbs and smoky barbecued beef instead of the traditional pristine shrimp. Dennis Ngo, a self-trained chef, devised it as a way to serve all the pieces of the whole briskets he smokes for Lonestar Empire, his roving barbecue business in New York City. The slick of spicy, barbecue sauce-flavored mayo is pure pleasure. (Photo: Tony Cenicola/The New York Times)

The filling for these tacos can also stand alone as a potato salad, but it’s very nice and comforting inside a warm tortilla. (Photo: Andrew Scrivani for The New York Times)

You can use Yukon golds, fingerlings or red bliss potatoes for this warm, creamy salad. The goat cheese melts into the dressing when you toss it with the hot potatoes. (Photo: Andrew Scrivani for The New York Times)

I know the potato salad I suggest is in culinary terms very un-American. I resolutely believe, however, that potatoes are so much better dressed in oil and vinegar (but it must be good wine vinegar) than blanketed in mayonnaise. (Photo: Andrew Scrivani for The New York Times)

My go-to recipe for deviled eggs was neither spicy nor red. But I liked the idea of tweaking it to be both. (Photo: Andrew Scrivani for The New York Times)

Whole corn kernels, simply tossed in a hot skillet of melted butter, and showered with fresh mint when they started to pop and turn brown. (Photo: Evan Sung for The New York Times)

Here is the simplest of recipes, brought to The Times in 2001 by Jason Epstein in the low, dispiriting weeks that followed the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. He was inspired, he wrote, by the food writer M.F.K. Fisher’s account of a disastrous love affair. (Photo: Rikki Snyder for The New York Times)

You make a veggie burger because you want the hamburger experience without the meat. This one delivers It’s got a firm, beefy texture that takes on the char and smoke of the grill, but is adaptable enough to cook inside on your stove. (Photo: Andrew Scrivani for The New York Times)

Not only is this recipe very easy, it results in the kind of deep flavor associated with the crunchy street corn of Mexico. In many parts of Mexico, though, that crunchiness is highlighted with a creamy chile-lime sauce. This is more unusual than the tried, true and unbeatable butter-salt-and-pepper combination, and only slightly more complicated. (Photo: Evan Sung for The New York Times)