All the Recipes You Should Cook This May – Sunset Magazine

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Celebrate the warm May air with these recipes, designed to bring you outside—and behind your grill.
May is all about embracing the light warmth of the coming summer season: outdoor adventures, backyard games, grilling, and finally using your yard to entertain again. Hillsides are awash in wildflower blooms, and we want our dishes to match that springtime awakening. Let’s welcome the commencement of the warm weather with some recipes that can bring you, your friends, and your family into the fresh air. We’re cooking up an array of super-fresh meals this month.
We’re opting for dishes like roasted salmon steak, smoked corn, and grilled ham-wrapped asparagus, among many other crowd-pleasing recipes. Finding a balance between heartier meats and lighter salads, to fill you up but not to overload your plate, is the key here. With longer and warmer days, and you’ll want to keep that dinner party going long past golden hour.
May is full of good weather days that create opportunities to appreciate your grill, flowers, sun, and games. We’ll emulate that through this month’s dishes as well. The list of fruits and vegetables that are in season grows significantly to include carrots, asparagus, and potatoes, to name a few.
From lighter dishes like nectarine salad and rosemary potato chips for a Mother’s Day brunch to a hearty burger and grilled chicken to satisfy all the grill masters on Memorial Day, and a soft chorizo taco to go along with tequila on Cinco de Mayo, there’s truly something for everyone. We’re excited to celebrate May fruits and vegetables, and feature them prominently in our favorite recipes to cook this month.
“This appetizer is a simple way to pull together a little nosh for guests if you’re in a pinch for time,” writes urban gardener Amy Pennington in Tiny Space Gardening: Growing Vegetables, Fruits, and Herbs in Small Outdoor Spaces. “Chives and radishes are among the first vegetables available in spring. Garnish with some edible flowers if desired.”
This tangy, exuberant salad comes together quickly, considering the size of the recipe (and it can easily be halved or even quartered, in direct proportion). It’s even quicker if you do it with friends, so the recipe is written with that in mind.
The crisp edges and chewy stalks of roasted broccoli are especially addictive when dragged through a thick, lemony cashew “cream” and dusted with fiery vadouvan, a French-Indian spice mix.
Grilling vegetables causes their natural sugars to caramelize. Dousing super-fresh produce in fish-sauce-infused scallion oil will make an appetizer that is crunchy, sweet, and salty all at the same time. You can use these techniques to blister pretty much any vegetable in your garden.
“It’s important to find a variety of potato that gets crisp when fried,” says Lulu chef David Tanis of this simple yet herbaceous appetizer or side dish. “We sometimes use a Yukon Gold type or Rose Fir. You can try to use small russets, but the only real way to know if they will work is to test a few slices.”
A touch of char adds a pleasantly bitter counterpoint to artichokes’ natural sweetness. Once you clean and simmer them, they grill in about the same time as boneless chicken breasts—cook both, and call it a meal with one of our sauce recipes.
Grilled corn sprinkled with crunchy, spicy salsa seca is going to be your new favorite summer party food. 
This recipe calls for wrapping slices of cured ham, dipped in burnt sugar with juniper and rosemary, around asparagus and grilling the bundles over a wood fire—a simple but phenomenally flavorful dish. It’s also good made with prosciutto and cooked over a grill—an easy idea to keep in mind for home.
This carne asada comes together with just a few ingredients and a quick sear on the grill. Can’t get to a grill? Throw these steaks onto a super-hot skillet to get the same char.

“This delicious quiche puts on quite a show at the brunch or tea table,” writes Cassie Winslow in Floral Provisions: 45+ Sweet and Savory Recipes. “Vibrant, fresh calendula petals and blooming herbs add a pretty confetti to this savory treat … and paired with the saltiness of Gouda and bacon? It’s absolutely lovely in every way.”
These sweet, spicy, and oh-so-sticky pork ribs benefit from a sauce spiked with gochujang, the deeply flavored fermented Korean chili paste. For maximum deliciousness, make sure you give yourself three to 12 hours to cure the pork ribs in the dry rub.
Two key ingredients are sweet, savory caramelized onions, and the right cheese. Oakland pitmaster Matt Horn uses Clover Sonoma Monterey Jack.
Few dishes are as dramatic as an enormous paella, rich with saffron-scented rice and a variety of shellfish. Building it layer by layer at the grill is pure theater. We won’t lie; this dish isn’t easy on the wallet and requires a lot of time—about two hours from start to finish. However, the end result is well worth the extra effort!
In the world of mid-1970s cooking, horseshoe-shaped salmon steaks were far more common than the now ubiquitous fillet. Now the old-school cut is back, seared in a hot pan, then roasted in the oven and topped with herby compound butter.
“Grilled chicken is an excellent humble family meal, although the marinade in this recipe adds an incredible glaze worthy of a restaurant meal,” Matt Horn says in his cookbook, Horn Barbecue. “The brown sugar speeds up caramelization and deepens the flavor of the finished poultry.”
Cinco de Mayo celebrations just got better with this simple, yet festive nacho recipe. The ultimate crowd-pleaser, these nachos are made with chorizo as the main attraction. They’re sure to liven up your gathering.
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