Curtis Stone’s Summer on a Plate

Summer is my favorite season for vegetables. It’s the perfect time to hit the farmer’s market and take advantage of the incredible bounty of fresh produce. Not only do vegetables like zucchini, eggplant, peppers, onions, and chilies grill well, but pairing them with lean proteins, like tuna, won’t wreak havoc on the waistline. A sturdy fish with an almost steak-like texture, tuna flips easily and cooks quickly on the grill. I like to keep a nice, red center and serve tuna medium rare.

Grilling adds a brilliant smokiness to food and is a quintessential summer flavor — whatever the recipe. At my restaurant, Gwen, we use almond wood to impart a distinct delicious taste to our steaks, pork, and chicken coming off the grill, but mesquite, hickory, and even charcoal are great alternatives.

Low in calories and high in flavor, Grilled Tuna and Vegetables with Garlic Oil is a one-dish dinner that takes no time to prep and cook. Feel free to improvise by choosing vegetables of different colors, shapes, and textures — whatever strikes your fancy.

During the summer months, I ­enjoy meals served family-style and dining al fresco. If you’re hosting a get-­together, a little planning will make the party easier to pull off. Get as much prep as possible done ahead of time so when guests arrive, you’re relaxed and ready to enjoy yourself. The more fun you have, the more fun your guests will have.

Grilled Tuna and Vegetables with Garlic Oil

Plate of Grilled Tuna on an outdoor table.
Np-fuss feast: This fresh, healthy summer meal is guaranteed to please. (Photo by Quentin Bacon)

(Makes 4 servings)

7 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
4 garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
4 small Japanese eggplants (about 1 pound total), halved lengthwise
4 small zucchini (about 1 pound total), halved lengthwise
1 large yellow onion, cut into 1/2-inch-thick rounds
4 5-ounce tuna steaks (about 1 inch thick)
2 lemons, cut in half and seeds removed

Prepare outdoor grill for medium-high cooking over direct heat. In small bowl, mix oil, garlic, and parsley. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Put eggplant, zucchini, and onions on large, rimmed baking sheet and coat with 2 tablespoons garlic oil. Arrange vegetables on grill and cook, turning occasionally, for 6 minutes, or until zucchini and onion are barely tender. Transfer zucchini and onions to plate. Grill eggplant for 4 minutes more, or until tender and lightly charred. Transfer to plate. Brush vegetables with 2 tablespoons garlic oil and tent with aluminum foil to keep warm.

Coat tuna with 1 tablespoon garlic oil and season to taste. Grill tuna 1 ½ minutes, or until bottom is opaque and seared with grill marks. Starting at corner nearest to you, slide metal spatula under each tuna steak and turn over. Add lemon halves, cut-side down, to grill. Cook tuna 1 ½ minutes longer or until just seared and opaque on outside but still red in center. Cook lemons 2 minutes total, or until seared with grill marks, and remove from grill. Transfer vegetables and tuna to plates and drizzle with remaining garlic oil. Serve with grilled lemons so guests can squeeze juice over tuna and vegetables.

Per serving
Calories: 507
Total Fat: 30 g
Saturated Fat: 5 g
Sodium: 550 mg
Carbohydrate: 21 g
Fiber: 6.5 g
Protein: 37 g
Diabetic Exchanges: 4 ½ lean meat, 3 vegetables, 4 fat

Tropical Smoothie

A tropical smoothie in a glass, next to an ice tray and sliced kiwi.
Cold Comfort: Cool down with this refreshing blend of pineapple, mango, papaya, and kiwi. (Photo by Quentin Bacon)

(Makes 2 servings)

1/4 pineapple, peeled, cored, coarsely chopped (about 2 cups)
1 mango, peeled, pitted, coarsely chopped (about 2 cups)
1/2 papaya, peeled, seeded, coarsely chopped (about 1 1/2 cups)
1 kiwi fruit, peeled, coarsely chopped (about 1⁄³ cup)
3/4 cup fresh coconut water
1 cup ice cubes

Blend ingredients in blender until smooth. Divide smoothie between 2 tall glasses and serve immediately.

Make-Ahead: This smoothie is best enjoyed as soon as it is made. The fruit can be chopped 1 day ahead, covered, and refrigerated.

Per serving
Calories: 263
Total Fat: 1.4 g
Saturated Fat: .4 g
Sodium: 107 mg
Carbohydrate: 66 g
Fiber: 9 g
Protein: 3.7 g
Diabetic Exchanges: 4 ½ fruit

Seasonal Side: Curtis Stone shares another favorite recipe, Green Bean and Cherry Tomato Gratin, at

Excerpted from What’s for Dinner? by Curtis Stone. Copyright © 2013 by Curtis Stone. Excerpted by permission of Ballantine Books, a division of Random House LLC. All rights reserved. Not part of this excerpt my be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher. 

This article is featured in the July/August 2018 issue of The Saturday Evening Post. Subscribe to the magazine for more art, inspiring stories, fiction, humor, and features from our archives.