Throw a Summertime Surf-and-Turf Gathering

Filet Mignon and Citrus-Marinated Salmon
Photo: John Granen

Summer entertaining's a breeze with a laid-back yet sophisticated tabletop and a fresh menu.

01 of 09

Summer Celebration

summer dinner party guests at table
John Granen

For Beth Dotolo and Carolina V Gentry, owners and founders of the hip interiors firm Pulp Design Studios, life is all about surf and turf. With offices in Seattle and Dallas, one half of the duo works surrounded by water, pine trees, and the laid-back attitude of the picturesque Pacific Northwest while the other operates in a glamorous city ringed by the rugged cattle country of Texas.

The design duo brought both tastes to the table for a summer celebration with friends and colleagues at Lake Washington, inside a waterfront home they outfitted with contemporary indoor-outdoor furnishings.

"We especially love our projects that are near water because water automatically imbues relaxation," Beth says.

02 of 09

Sophisticated Table Settings

contemporary celestial design place setting
John Granen

In keeping with the summer season, casual ease is on the menu. That means no precious dinnerware or stuffy accoutrements. Beth and Carolina put a priority on creating a tablescape that's stylish but doesn't steal time better spent with guests.

The imperfect form of a live-edge dining table automatically extends permission for an unmatched scheme. Matte black dinner plates set a simple foundation for formal porcelain salad plates bearing a contemporary celestial design. Plum and smoky-glass stemware adds sophistication with moody color. Shapely ceramic vessels hold flower arrangements. A table runner designed by Beth and Carolina layers a graphic tribal pattern down the table's center without disrupting the beautiful grain of the wood.

The organic, handcrafted look of the table sparked other artisanal touches. Leather placemats were embellished by an artist in Dallas who puts painterly flourishes on custom garments and home goods. Another Dallas-based maker fashioned the sage-color platters used to pass courses of food served family style. Dappled with a golden glaze, the serving pieces inject a bit of glitz into the comfortable setting.

"We always want to show personality in the interiors we design by using unique pieces," Carolina says. "One-of-a-kind and small-batch objects help achieve that. When you can mix uncommon pieces with everyday objects that are more recognizable, you create a custom experience."

And creating memories and meaning is what it's all about—in a home or at a relaxed summer dinner party.

03 of 09

Summer Surf-and-Turf Menu

guests laughing and having drinks on patio
John Granen

Less is more when it comes to this enticing menu for summer. It features beautiful fresh food with high-quality ingredients. Fresh herbs and citrus elevate the best cuts for surf-and-turf: filet mignon and center-cut salmon fillets. These accents are carried through the meal from cocktails to appetizers to salad. Finish with a "coffee course" of cooling custard and ice cream. Recipes by Chef Mary Payne Moran of Hail Mary, Food of Grace


  • Strawberry Lemon Drop
  • Grapefruit Mojito with Mint
  • Genovese Peanut Pesto Bruschetta
  • Thyme-Roasted Fingerling Potatoes
  • Butter Lettuce Salad with Stone Fruit and Blackberries
  • Surf and Turf: Filet Mignon and Citrus-Marinated Salmon
  • Coffee Custard Sundae with Crumbled Almond Biscotti and Vanilla Ice Cream

Shopping List

We've organized a shopping list to make shopping for this gathering menu easier for you. Package sizes are included so you have enough for duplicated recipe ingredients.

Check your pantry for these necessary items before shopping:

Note: Unless specified, when we call for "butter," we mean the unsalted variety. When we call for "olive oil," we are suggesting good-quality extra virgin. When we call for "eggs," we are suggesting large eggs. Unless specified, when we call for "milk," we mean whole-fat milk. Amounts allow for eight cocktails.

  • Olive oil (need 2¼ cups)
  • Butter (need 2 sticks + 1 tablespoon)
  • Nonstick cooking spray
  • Canola oil non stick cooking spray<is it necessary to call for two kinds of nonstick cooking spray?>
  • Kosher salt (need 31/4 teaspoons + to taste)
  • Ground and cracked black pepper (to taste)
  • Granulated sugar (need 2½ cups + 1½ teaspoons)
  • Cornstarch (need 1 tablespoon)
  • Vanilla extract (need ½ teaspoon)
  • Milk (need 1 cup)
  • Eggs (need 5)
  • Red wine vinegar (need 1 tablespoon)

Specialty grocery store

  • 1 (7-ounce) container crème fraîche
  • 1 (12-ounce) bottle champagne vinegar
  • 1 shot espresso
  • 8 almond biscotti


  • 1 bunch mint
  • 1 bunch thyme
  • 2 bunches basil
  • 2 bunches Italian parsley
  • 1 bunch tarragon
  • 10 lemons
  • 2 limes
  • 1 orange
  • 3 to 4 grapefruit
  • 2 cups sweet cherries<Is cups the right way to purchase cherries?< or 6 medium red or purple plums
  • 2 or 3 medium peaches
  • 2 pint blackberries
  • 1 quart strawberries
  • 2 heads butterhead (Boston or Bibb) lettuce
  • 4 ears fresh corn (1 [10-ounce] package frozen whole kernel corn)
  • 2 cups fresh peas (1 [10-ounce] package frozen peas)
  • 1 (10-ounce) package baby heirloom tomatoes
  • 1 (11/2-pound) package fingerling potatoes
  • 2 shallots
  • 1 bulb garlic


  • 1 (10-ounce) jar pitted green olives
  • 1 (1.75-ounce) package dry-roasted peanuts
  • 1 (3.5-ounce) jar capers
  • 1 (4-ounce) bar milk chocolate
  • 1 (16-ounce) bottle sparkling water


  • 1 baguette-style French bread


  • 2 to 3 ounces thinly sliced prosciutto
  • 8 (5- to 6-ounce portions) beef tenderloin steaks (about 1½ inches thick)
  • 12-ounce package bacon


  • 8 (4-ounce) portions skin-on, center-cut salmon fillets

Frozen food aisle

  • 1 (1-pint) container vanilla bean ice cream


  • 1 (½-pint) container heavy cream

Cheese department

  • 1 (15-ounce) container ricotta cheese
  • 3 ounces Stilton or Roquefort blue cheese


  • 1 (750-milliliter) bottle vodka
  • 1 (750-milliliter) bottle rum
04 of 09

Strawberry Lemon Drop

strawberry lemon drop
John Granen

Get the most juice out of fresh lemons. Pop them in the microwave for 20 seconds, then roll them on the counter under your palm before cutting and squeezing.

Start to Finish: 15 minutes

  • 3 cups vodka
  • 1-1/2 cups fresh lemon juice
  • 1-1/2 cups Simple Syrup
  • 12 fresh strawberries, sliced
  • Ice

In large pitcher stir together vodka, lemon juice, and Simple Syrup. Stir in strawberries. Serve in ice-filled glasses. Makes 8 servings.

For Simple Syrup, in small saucepan combine 1 cup water and 1 cup sugar. Cook and stir over medium heat until sugar dissolves. Transfer to jar with screw-top lid. Chill until ready to use. Makes 1-1/2 cups.

05 of 09

Grapefruit Mojito with Mint

Grapefruit Mojito with Mint
John Granen

Fresh lime brings the zip to this pretty pink drink, especially if you juice sweeter red grapefruit. If you like, make a whole pitcher for easy serving.

Start to Finish: 5 minutes

  • 2½ ounces fresh grapefruit juice
  • ¼ cup fresh mint leaves, plus a sprig for garnish
  • 2 lime slices
  • 2 ounces (¼ cup) rum
  • ½ ounce (1 tablespoon) Simple Syrup
  • 1 splash fresh lime juice
  • Ice
  • Sparkling water
  • 1 slice grapefruit

In cocktail shaker, muddle grapefruit juice, mint leaves, and lime slices. Add rum, Simple Syrup, and lime juice. Add ice; cover and shake. Strain into ice-filled glass. Top with sparkling water. Garnish with a grapefruit slice and mint sprig. Makes 1 serving.

For Simple Syrup, in small saucepan combine 1 cup water and 1 cup sugar. Cook and stir over medium heat until sugar dissolves. Transfer to jar with screw-top lid. Chill until ready to use. Makes 1½ cups.

By the Pitcher: In pitcher combine 2½ cups grapefruit juice, 1 cup lightly packed mint leaves, and 1 thinly sliced lime. Using muddler or the back of a wooden spoon, muddle to bruise the mint and extract the juice from the lime slices. Stir in 2 cups rum, ½ cup Simple Syrup, and 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice. To serve, strain mixture into eight ice-filled glasses. Top with sparkling water. Makes 8 servings.

06 of 09

Genovese Peanut Pesto Bruschetta

Genovese Peanut Pesto Bruschetta
John Granen

Using Castelvetrano olives will give the pesto a buttery, rich texture and flavor. If you choose a smaller green olive, such as Manzanilla, it will bring a tangy and briny character.

Start to Finish: 30 minutes

  • 16 to 24 thin slices baguette-style French bread
  • Nonstick cooking spray
  • Kosher salt
  • 1 cup packed fresh basil
  • ¼ cup packed fresh Italian parsley
  • ¼ cup pitted green olives
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons dry-roasted peanuts
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest, plus more for garnish
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon capers, drained
  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled
  • ½ cup ricotta cheese
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt

For Crostini, heat grill pan or outdoor grill to medium-high. Lightly coat both sides of bread slices with cooking spray; sprinkle with salt. Grill slices 2 to 3 minutes per side or until grill marks form.

For Pesto, in blender or food processor combine basil, Italian parsley, olives, olive oil, peanuts, 1 teaspoon lemon zest, lemon juice, capers, red wine vinegar, and garlic. Pulse until a chunky paste forms.

Season ricotta with ¼ teaspoon salt. Spread ricotta on crostini. Top with pesto. Garnish with additional lemon zest. Serve at room temperature. Makes 8 servings.

Thyme-Roasted Fingerling Potatoes

Fingerling potatoes can be found at farmers markets and are perfect vehicles to wrap with spiraling strips of prosciutto. If you can't find them, use tiny red, yellow, and/or purple potatoes.

Hands On: 20 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 50 minutes

  • Nonstick cooking spray
  • 16 to 24 fingerling potatoes, rinsed and dried
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves, plus more for garnish
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more to taste
  • 2 to 3 ounces thinly sliced prosciutto, cut into 3- to 4-inch strips
  • ½ cup crème fraîche

Preheat oven to 400°F. Coat shallow baking pan with cooking spray.

In large bowl toss together potatoes, olive oil, 1 teaspoon thyme leaves, and salt. Arrange potatoes in prepared baking pan. Roast about 30 minutes or until tender. Let potatoes cool to room temperature.

Wrap potatoes with prosciutto, securing with wooden pick if necessary. Place on platter; sprinkle with additional thyme leaves and a light sprinkling of kosher salt. Serve with crème fraîche. Makes 8 servings.

07 of 09

Butter Lettuce Salad with Stone Fruit and Blackberries

Butter Lettuce Salad with Stone Fruit and Blackberries
John Granen

The best fresh sweet cherries have a limited window of availability. Fresh plums can be substituted when cherries are out of season or if you just prefer them as an alternative.

Start to Finish: 15 minutes

  • 2 heads butterhead (Boston or Bibb) lettuce, torn into bite-size pieces (10 cups)
  • 2 cups fresh sweet cherries, pitted and halved, or 2 cups halved and pitted red or purple plums
  • 2 cups sliced fresh peaches, unpeeled
  • 2 cups fresh blackberries
  • 1 recipe Champagne Vinaigrette
  • Kosher salt
  • 3/4 cup crumbled Stilton or Roquefort blue cheese
  • 3 tablespoons coarsely chopped fresh Italian parsley
  • Freshly ground black pepper

In a large bowl combine lettuce, cherries, peaches, and blackberries. Drizzle salad with Champagne Vinaigrette; lightly toss to coat. Season with salt.

Plate salads; top each with crumbled blue cheese, parsley, and pepper. Makes 8 servings.

For Champagne Vinaigrette, in small bowl, whisk together 1/3 cup olive oil, ¼ cup champagne vinegar, 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice, and 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh Italian parsley. Season to taste with kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper.

08 of 09

Surf and Turf: Filet Mignon and Citrus-Marinated Salmon

Filet Mignon and Citrus-Marinated Salmon
John Granen

Using skin-on salmon makes it easier to turn when broiling. If you prefer not to serve the salmon with the skin on, run a sharp knife or thin spatula between the skin and salmon after cooking to loosen the fillet. Leave the skin on the foil, then fold up the foil for easy cleanup.

Hands On: 30 minutes

Total Time: 55 minutes

Herbed Butter:

  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 2/3 cup chopped fresh basil
  • ½ cup chopped fresh Italian parsley
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh tarragon
  • 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt

Filet Mignon and Citrus-Marinated Salmon:

  • 8 (5- to 6-ounce) beef tenderloin steaks (about 1½ inches thick)
  • Canola oil nonstick cooking spray
  • Kosher salt
  • Cracked black pepper
  • 1½ cups olive oil
  • 4 teaspoons orange zest
  • 2 teaspoons lemon zest
  • 1½ teaspoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 8 (4-ounce) skin-on, center-cut salmon fillets
  • 1 recipe Summer Corn, Pea, and Heirloom Tomato Succotash

For Herbed Butter, in small bowl combine butter, basil, parsley, tarragon, and kosher salt; mix well. Spoon onto sheet of plastic wrap; use wrap to form mixture into cylinder. Refrigerate until ready to use.

For Filet Mignon and Citrus-Marinated Salmon, lightly coat steaks with cooking spray. Season with salt and cracked pepper. Let steaks stand at room temperature 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, in resealable plastic bag set in shallow dish, combine olive oil, orange zest, lemon zest, sugar, and 1 teaspoon salt; mix well. Add salmon to marinade. Seal bag; refrigerate 30 minutes.

Preheat broiler. Place steaks on unheated rack of foil-lined broiler pan. Broil 4 to 5 inches from heat 18 to 21 minutes for medium rare (145°F), turning once halfway through broiling. Remove foil from broiler pan; discard.

Transfer steaks to a serving platter. Cover with foil. Let rest while broiling salmon.

Remove salmon from plastic bag. Place on paper-towel-lined baking sheet to remove excess oil.

Line broiler pan with fresh foil. Place salmon skin side up on rack of pan. Broil 4 to 5 inches from heat 4 to 6 minutes per ½-inch thickness of fish or until fish flakes easily when tested with fork, carefully turning once halfway through broiling.

To serve, cut Herbed Butter into 16 slices. Top steaks and salmon fillets with butter slices. Serve with Summer Corn, Pea, and Heirloom Tomato Succotash. Makes 8 servings.

For Summer Corn, Pea, and Heirloom Tomato Succotash, in large skillet cook 3 slices bacon, chopped, over medium until beginning to brown and fat is released. Add ¼ cup chopped shallots; cook until softened. Add 2 cups fresh (4 ears) or frozen whole kernel corn and 2 cups fresh or frozen peas to skillet. Cook 4 to 5 minutes or until soft. Toss in 2 cups baby heirloom tomatoes, halved. Season to taste with kosher salt and cracked black pepper. Makes 4 cups.

09 of 09

Coffee Custard Sundae with Crumbled Almond Biscotti and Vanilla Ice Cream

Coffee Custard Sundae with Crumbled Almond Biscotti and Vanilla Ice Cream
John Granen

Just a small amount of espresso flavors this custard, so quality matters. If you don't have your own espresso maker, purchase a shot at a coffee shop or make your own strong brewed coffee.

Hands On: 30 minutes
Total Time: 2 hours 45 minutes including chilling time

Coffee Custard:

  • 4 egg yolks
  • 1 whole egg
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 cup milk
  • ½ cup heavy cream
  • 1 tablespoon espresso
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla


  • 8 almond biscotti, broken into small pieces (1 cup)
  • 8 (¼-cup) scoops vanilla bean ice cream
  • ½ cup shaved milk chocolate curls

For Coffee Custard, prepare ice bath for cooling custard. In medium bowl whisk egg yolks and whole egg; set aside.

In heavy medium saucepan, stir together sugar, cornstarch, and salt. Stir in milk, cream, and espresso. Cook and stir over medium until thickened and bubbly. Cook and stir 2 minutes more. Remove from heat

Whisking constantly, gradually add milk mixture to eggs. Return mixture to saucepan. Bring to a gentle boil, stirring constantly. Cook and stir 2 minutes more. Remove from heat. Whisk in butter and vanilla. Strain through sieve into bowl set in ice bath. Stir until cooled. Remove from ice bath. Cover surface of custard with plastic wrap. Chill until completely cool or up to 24 hours.

For Sundaes, spoon coffee custard into eight serving dishes. Top with biscotti pieces, ice cream, and chocolate curls. Makes 8 servings.

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