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A Summer Fried-Chicken Sandwich Dinner

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Also featuring cool cucumber soup, a salad of summer's freshest vegetables, and fruit cobbler.

I know summer is all about grilling. And believe me—I love grilling, too. But come late summer, when the nights begin to cool a bit, I’m ready for something different. Some texture and crunch. Some oily goodness. That’s when I know it’s time to treat myself and my family to fried chicken sandwiches. Yeah, yeah, your kitchen might get a little hotter when you heat the oil for frying, but that’s why the gods invented air-conditioning—or at least a fan. And after one bite of these tender, crackly, chicken thighs topped with a sweet-hot butter and tangy pickles, you’ll hardly notice those beads of sweat.

The rest of the supper, except for dessert, requires no additional heat and uses up your garden’s (or your friend’s garden’s) goodies. Start with a super-easy cold cucumber soup. Clean-tasting and refreshing, it won’t weigh you down before the main course.

Served with the sandwich is an easy salad you can adjust to what you have on hand. I like spinach, corn, and tomatoes, but you could swap in another green or even sliced green beans in place of the spinach. As for the corn, if it’s prime- picked, you may not even have to cook it. Just taste it raw, and if you like it, skip the boiling. A little blue cheese in the salad pairs perfectly with the hot (though not quite Buffalo hot) chicken.

Finally, dessert. (Yes, you can fit it in after that sandwich, which really isn’t that big.) An easy cobbler filled with summer’s best fruit rounds out the homey menu. It’s simple on purpose, because that’s what summer eating is all about—even when you’re not grilling.

Menu Timeline

One Day Ahead

  • Make the soup.
  • Marinate the chicken.
  • Make the spicy-sweet butter for the sandwiches.

Three Hours Ahead

  • Make the salad dressing.
  • Take the butter out of the fridge.

Two Hours Ahead

  • Make the cobbler.
  • Prep (but don’t dress) the salad and keep refrigerated.

30 Minutes Ahead

  • Fry the chicken and assemble the sandwiches.
  • Dress the salad.
  • Garnish the soup.

The Menu

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