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‘Brat’ Green Summer Cooking – The New York Times



‘Brat’ Green Summer Cooking – The New York Times
‘Brat’ Green Summer Cooking – The New York Times

A neon green soccer kit floating up the subway stairs. A neon green traffic cone tumbled over the curb. A neon green frozen mojito at the Commodore in Williamsburg. Everywhere I look, I can’t help but see “Brat,” Charli XCX’s sixth album, released last month, with its low-res, slime-colored cover art.

If last summer was awash with “Barbie” pink, this summer oozes “brat” green, which the singer described to Vogue Singapore as an “offensive, off-trend shade,” selected to convey “the idea of something being wrong.” But all it takes is a pop star championing the uncool to make it, well, very cool. So here we are, in the thick of what fans have declared “brat” summer: a season dedicated to having fun and caring less.

I can’t get enough of the color, personally. I see it in chile verde guacamole, in pesto-tossed noodles, in strawberry matcha lattes. On a plate or in a cup, “brat” green isn’t wrong. It’s lush, vegetal, oh so right.

Hetty Lui McKinnon’s chilled zucchini soup with lemon and basil (above) is vividly chartreuse, thickened and silky with cashews. Garlic and miso lend some savory oomph to the subtle backdrop of summer squash, which is at its best right now. This two-step recipe couldn’t be easier: Simply blitz all of the ingredients together in a blender or food processor, chill and serve.

View this recipe.

A no-cook recipe is, dare I say, very “brat.” And just as parts of the Midwest and East Coast emerge from a heat dome, the West Coast is bracing for a heat wave of its own. So I urge you to take a break from the oven and stove entirely and embrace a few more cooling, “brat” green, no-cook dishes.

Ali Slagle’s five-ingredient cucumber-avocado salad is perhaps one of my favorites this time of year. When mixed with lemon juice or rice vinegar (or lime juice, my preference), the avocado breaks down a bit to create a creamy dressing for the chunks of cucumber. I like to eat it alongside silken tofu drizzled in a spicy soy sauce.

For your holiday weekend picnicking, there’s this vibrant buttermilk green goddess slaw, which Melissa Clark adapted from a cookbook by Diane St. Clair. In lieu of the anchovies, swap in chopped capers or a little miso paste. “Made this for a 4th of July party,” a reader wrote last year. She added: “I didn’t get to try a bite — our 10 guests finished it ALL. Comments included: ‘This is the best slaw I’ve ever had’ and ‘I don’t like slaw, but this slaw has made me a convert.’” Sold.

Equally summery is Jocelyn Ramirez’s palmitos aguachile verde. She veganizes the Sinaloa-style ceviche using diced hearts of palm and imparts the oceanic qualities of a seafood aguachile using sheets of nori. “If you love acid and heat, this is the dish for you,” she writes.

You’ll want a “brat” green drink with that. An agua fresca will cool you off from the heat of those serrano chiles — specifically Yewande Komolafe’s cucumber agua fresca with mint and ginger. In a boozier direction, there’s Alexa Weibel’s spicy cucumber margarita, and in a creamier direction, Ali’s green smoothie, which she based on the “stew” served at Veggies Natural Juice Bar & Cafe in Brooklyn.

Just don’t rush to make it all this weekend. As Charli posted on X this week, “brat summer is only just beginning 🙂

OK, one final thing: If you plan to stave off the July heat indoors, chances are you might tune in to Season 3 of “The Bear,” which dropped last week. The series has long been praised for its gritty realism, but how would the fictitious restaurant truly run if we could make a reservation there tomorrow? Ella Quittner consulted hospitality experts, economists, chefs and longtime maître d’s to explain how it would operate as a real fine-dining destination in Chicago in pursuit of a Michelin star.

Give that a read after your “Yes, chef” binge, and see you next week!

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