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Perfect summer picnic recipes and picnic basket packing tips

As an experienced author, journalist and editor, Sarah specialises in writing about business, property, travel and parenting. She's written for magazines including Cosmopolitan, Marie Claire, Collective and Your Investment Property magaz...

Pack the perfect summer picnic

From SheKnows Australia
Finding a lush grassy spot under a tree to lay out a picnic blanket and smother with food is a perfect way to spend a summer afternoon. However, it seems that the most challenging aspect of planning a picnic isn't finding an idyllic location -- it is actually determining the ultimate summer picnic menu! John Kurapatwa, executive chef of Italian restaurant Spigola Ristorante in the US, shares his tasty tips for packing your picnic basket with his favourite selection of tantalising summer picnic recipes.

man and woman having picnicPerfect picnic recipes

The most challenging part of packing a perfect picnic can be determining the menu for the outdoor occasion. In line with the cuisine he masterfully prepares at Spigola, Chef Kurapatwa shares his favourite Italian-inspired picnic recipes.

Italian potato salad - Serves 4-6

Ingredients:

  • 400 grams white or red skin potatoes
  • 1/2 cup white balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tbs. Dijon mustard
  • 2 tsp. granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp. celery seeds
  • 1 tsp. oregano
  • 1 red onion, julienned
  • 1 sprig chopped scallions

Method:

  1. Wash potatoes and boil in salted water until tender.
  2. Let potatoes cool slightly, then cut into quarters. Set aside.
  3. In a mixing bowl, whisk together the vinegar, mustard, sugar, celery seed and oregano. Add the julienned red onion and scallions.
  4. Pour the dressing over the reserved potatoes and toss well to coat. Chill overnight.

Grilled chicken Italiano - Serves 4

Ingredients:

  • 4 chicken breasts
  • 1 to 2 tbs. extra virgin olive oil, plus extra for drizzling
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 lemon, halved
  • 2 tsp. garlic powder
  • 4 tbs. melted butter
  • 8 slices brioche bread
  • Sundried Tomato Basil Pesto (recipe follows)
  • 8 ounces thinly sliced Prosciutto di Parma
  • 8-10 leaves cos lettuce
  • 1 large tomato, sliced

Method:

  1. Preheat grill to medium high. Lightly coat chicken with olive oil and season with salt and pepper.
  2. Grill chicken for approximately four minutes on each side. Squeeze fresh lemon juice on the chicken, drizzle with extra virgin olive oil and set aside.
  3. Mix the garlic powder and melted butter together. Brush the mixture onto the brioche and grill the bread for about a minute on each side. Be careful not to brush too much butter mixture on to the bread, or it can become soggy and oily.
  4. Assemble the sandwich by spreading a tablespoon of the pesto on the bread. Layer the grilled chicken and prosciutto on one slice. Top with two lettuce leaves and two slices of tomato. Finish with another slice of brioche.

Chef's tip: For a picnic, consider packing all of the ingredients separately and then assembling the sandwich at the picnic site, to avoid the sandwich becoming soggy.

Sundried tomato basil pesto - Makes about 3 cups

This recipe is a great spread for sandwiches, can be used as a dipping sauce, or makes a delicious dressing for salads and vegetables.

Ingredients:

  • 1 bunch fresh basil
  • 1 cup sundried tomatoes, rehydrated in warm water
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tsp. parmesan cheese
  • 2 cups extra virgin olive oil

Method:

  • Pick leaves off basil stems and wash and dry the leaves.
  • Place the basil in a food processor and add all other ingredients, except the oil. Turn on the processor and blend together.
  • In a slow stream, add the oil while the processor is still running, until the mixture emulsifies. Transfer to an airtight container and refrigerate until ready to use.

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