Victoria Topham of Petite Feast shares a few of her favorite outdoor summer recipes. She served grilled salmon and eggplant caponata on a table topped with small pots of herbs and glasses of chilled raspberry ginger lemonade refresh guests.
Raspberry Ginger Lemonade
Serves 12

  • 6 C water
  • 2 C sugar
  • 1 C fresh ginger, grated
  • 1 pint fresh raspberries
  • 3 C fresh squeezed lemon juice
  • Lemon and raspberries for garnish

Place water, sugar and ginger in medium sauce pan. Bring to a boil over high heat. Remove from heat and allow mixture to steep for 30 minutes. Strain the liquid and discard the solids. Add fresh lemon juice. Refrigerate mixture until well chilled. Puree raspberries in a food processor and strain into the sweetened lemon water. Serve over ice garnished with raspberries and lemon slices.
Grilled Salmon Fillet with Savory Herbs and Eggplant Caponata
Serves 8

  • 3 lb. salmon fillet, skin intact or have your fishmonger remove it for you
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 cup eggplant caponata (see recipe)

To prepare salmon fillet, place the salmon skin side down on work surface. With the blade of a sharp thin knife, angled toward the skin, start to slice the skin away from the flesh. I find it easiest to tug back slightly on the skin while pushing forward with my knife. If you would prefer, you can ask your fishmonger or butcher to do this for you. Next, butterfly the fillet lengthwise, being careful not to cut completely through the flesh at the end. You want to be able to open the fillet like a book. Season the salmon generously with salt and pepper. Set aside.
Preheat grill to medium high. Sprinkle salt and pepper lightly over salmon fillet. With the salmon placed horizontally on counter, spread prepared caponata on top of fillet and pat down lightly leaving a 1” border along the top portion. This will allow for easier rolling and cooking. Carefully roll salmon fillet (like a jelly roll) starting at the long end to form a semi-tight cylinder. Be sure to end with the seam side down. Wrap tightly with aluminum foil and refrigerate for at least 1 hour. Cut the roulade into 8 equal pieces, each about 2” thick, leaving the foil intact.
Clean grill grates well and lightly oil with a piece of paper toweling dipped in cooking oil. Carefully place salmon on grill, taking care not to crowd the fish. Flip salmon over after 4 minutes using a wide spatula. Grill another 4 minutes or until fish is cooked through and flakes easily. The cooking time will depend on the thickness of the slices and how well done you like your salmon. The traditional rule for cooking fish is 9-10 minutes per inch of thickness, but I prefer to cook it not more than 8 minutes per inch.
To serve:  Remove foil and plate salmon. Serve with remaining caponata on the side.
Eggplant Caponata
This recipe is a component of the Salmon Roulade. It also makes an excellent crostini topping and is equally good served over chicken or pork. It will keep in the refrigerator for up to a week, so it’s nice to make a large batch to have some on hand. If you have it on hand, tossed with some cooked pasta–it makes for a super fast weeknight dinner.

  • 3 Tbsp. high-quality olive oil
  • 1/2 onion, minced
  • 2 Tbsp. garlic, minced
  • 1 large eggplant, unpeeled & diced
  • 4 ribs celery, diced
  • 1 red bell pepper, seeded and diced
  • 1 large tomato, diced
  • 1 small zucchini, diced
  • 1 small yellow squash, diced
  • 2 Tbsp. white wine vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp. granulated sugar
  • 1 Tbsp. capers, rinsed
  • 2 Tbsp. raisins
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil, chopped
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

In a large sauté pan, heat olive oil over medium high heat. Saute onions, garlic and eggplant until onions and garlic are fragrant and eggplant is slightly browned, about 3 minutes. Add diced celery, red pepper and tomato, vinegar and sugar. Cook, stirring occasionally for 3-5 minutes, until eggplant is tender but still has some texture. Remove from heat and stir in zucchini, yellow squash, capers and raisins. Cool to room temperature and stir in chopped basil. Taste and adjust using salt and pepper.
Heirloom Tomato and Fava Bean Salad
Serves 4-6
Salad Ingredients:

  • 1 pound grape or small heirloom tomatoes, halved
  • 1 pound fava beans, shelled, blanched and peeled (or you can substitute 1 14oz package lima beans, blanched and refreshed under cold water)
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • ½ tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 oz fresh mozzarella cheese torn into bite size pieces
  • ¼ cup fresh basil leaves, chopped

Vinaigrette Ingredients:

  • 1 tsp garlic, minced
  • 2 Tbsp ea parsley and basil, minced
  • 3 Tbso shallot, minced
  • 1 cup olive oil
  • 1/3 cup + 1 Tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp pepper

Simply whisk all ingredients together and chill before using. To prepare salad: combine salad ingredients and toss with 1/4 cup vinaigrette. Adjust salt and pepper, extra vinaigrette may be kept refrigerated for up to 1 week.
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Lemon Coconut Cake with Meringue Icing:

  • 1 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. table salt
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup butter
  • 2 Tbsp. minced lemon zest
  • 2 tsp. coconut extract
  • 2/3 + 2 Tbsp. whole milk

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray and flour an 8” cake pan. Set aside. Sift flour, baking powder and salt together. Set aside. Cream butter and sugar together using a mixer set on high speed until light and fluffy, 5-7 minutes. Scrape down sides of bowl. With mixer running, add eggs one at a time and mix until fully incorporated and no clumps of butter remain. Add lemon zest and coconut extract.
Then, alternately beat dry mixture and milk into creamed mixture, starting and ending with dry mixture. Pour batter into prepared pan and bake until a toothpick inserted in center of cake comes out clean, 25-30 minutes. Remove from oven and cool completely on wire rack before icing with meringue icing.
Meringue Icing:

  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 5 egg whites
  • 1 pinch cream of tartar
  • 1 tsp. fresh lemon juice
  • 3 cup grated coconut

In a small mixing bowl, combine egg whites, powdered sugar and lemon juice. Mix to combine. Place a saucepan with 2″ of water on stove top. Place mixing bowl with icing ingredients over saucepan of water and bring up to a simmer. Make sure bottom of mixing bowl does not touch simmering water. Heat until sugar is completely dissolved.
Transfer mixture to work bowl of a stand mixer and whip on high speed until meringue holds stiff, glossy peaks. Ice cake using prepared icing, pressing coconut to sides of iced cake. Do not refrigerate iced cake. Cake is best eaten within 2 days of baking.

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