New Orleans is not necessarily graced with four full seasons each year. And this spring, we swung back and forth from cold weather to hot. But as May kicks in to full gear, those hot and humid summer temperatures are revving up.

When preparing for the summer, there’s no better place to start than with the one thing New Orleanians all agree on: food.

For the past few months, Let Them Eat Cake has partnered with Joel Catering & Special Events executive chef Bryan Clark to bring readers a caterer’s choice. This month, Chef Clark tells us that a tasty way to get ready for the summer heat is grilling a zucchini and summer squash salad, which works perfectly for a date night in or a start to a low-key welcome dinner before a wedding.

“Pretty straightforward and easy enough for any cook,” says Clark. “This salad celebrates some of the essential ingredients to enjoying summer in Louisiana: grilling, summer vegetables, and friends and families to share it with.”



Grilled Zucchini and Summer Squash Salad

Serves about 4


  • 1 cup pecan halves, coarsely chopped
  • 2 zucchini, ends removed and sliced lengthwise into 1/4-inch planks
  • 2 yellow squash, ends removed and sliced lengthwise into 1/4-inch planks
  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup fresh Italian parsley
  • 3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 3/4 cup crumbled goat cheese


  1. Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Place the pecans on a baking sheet or in a dry skillet. When the oven is hot, bake until fragrant and lightly browned, about 8 to 10 minutes. Let cool.
  2. Heat a grill or grill pan over high heat until lightly smoking. While the grill is heating, toss the zucchini and yellow squash in a large bowl with 1/4 cup of the olive oil and season with salt and pepper.
  3. Evenly arrange the zucchini and squash on the grill and cook until grill marks are visible, about 3 minutes. Working quickly, flip and cook until lightly charred on the second side and the vegetables have softened in the center, about 2 more minutes. Transfer to a large bowl.
  4. Add the parsley, vinegar, toasted pecans, and remaining 1/4 cup olive oil. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

To serve, arrange a small pile of salad in the center of each plate. Top each salad with a few sprinkles of crumbled goat cheese. Serve warm and enjoy.




See the previous “Caterer’s Choice” picks of boudin sliders here, a backyard fry party here and strawberry shortcake here.