Plates? Check. Utensils? Check. Big blanket? Check. Now that you’ve got all the basics covered, it’s time to figure out what you’re going to serve at your next grassy get-together.

The typical picnic spread includes an assortment of oldies but goodies: cheese and fruit, deviled eggs, pasta salad, fried chicken and biscuits, and cookies for dessert. These reliable, classic dishes are great for throwing together a picnic in a pinch, but think of what you could do given a little time and imagination.

Instead of canned tuna sandwiches, prepare a luxurious lobster salad or poached chicken with homemade mayonnaise. Forego the bottled Italian dressing and whip up a vinaigrette with truffle oil. Toss the brownie mix and make fresh desserts with sweet summer berries and ripe peaches. Before you know it, your next al fresco feast will be a fine dining affair to remember.

Picnic Tips

Chef Edgar Leal of Cacao Restaurant
Reina Pepiada Arepa Chips

Chef Ron Reda of Dish
Simple Greens Salad
Tomato Trio

Chef Shannon Galusha of 727 Pine
Lobster BLT

Chef Kira Volz of Abbey Dining Room
Shrimp Fattoush Salad
Grilled Skirt Steak Panzanella

From A Passion for Desserts by Emily Luchetti
Black Forest Brownies with Mocha Ganache
Red Berry–White Chocolate Trifles

From Tea: Essence of the Leaf by Sara Slavin and Karl Petzke
Iced Green Tea with Wildflower Honey

Published: August 2004