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3 Hot (as in Spicy) Dishes for Summer

In some cultures, when the temperature rises, the food has heat

Spicy Salmon Veracruz Foil Packets

Serves 4

If you don't have a gas grill or don't feel like firing it up, just adjust the rack to its lowest position and roast the foil packs on a rimmed baking sheet in a 500-degree oven for 15 minutes.

If you don't have dry sherry, substitute a little white wine. And if you don't have fresh basil, use a few teaspoons of dried basil instead.

  • 4 center-cut salmon fillets (1-1/4 to 1-1/2 pounds)
  • 1 pound cherry or grape tomatoes
  • 4 each: large garlic cloves and scallions, sliced thin
  • 1/2 cup sliced pimento-stuffed olives
  • 1/4 cup each: extra-virgin olive oil and dry sherry
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
  • 1 jalapeno, stemmed, seeded and minced
  • Salt and ground black pepper

Heat a gas grill, igniting all burners on high for at least 10 minutes.

Mix all ingredients, including a generous sprinkling of salt and pepper, in a large bowl. Divide mixture among four 12-by-18-inch sheets of heavy-duty aluminum foil. Bringing long sides together, fold foil over about 1/2 inch; crimp to seal. Repeat folding and crimping twice more. Fold ends in twice to seal completely.

Set packets on hot rack; cover and grill for 8 minutes. Remove from grill; let stand for 3 minutes before opening. Serve.

Spicy 7-Layer Chicken Tostadas

Serves 6

  • 6 medium (about 8-inch) flour tortillas
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • Salt
  • 1 can (16 ounces) refried beans
  • 1 can (4.5 ounces) chopped green chilies
  • 2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 3 cups cooked shredded rotisserie chicken
  • 1 jar (12 ounces) of your favorite prepared salsa
  • 3/4 cup Greek yogurt
  • 1 tablespoon light or regular mayonnaise
  • 6 ounces (1-1/2 cups) shredded pepper jack cheese
  • 1 avocado, halved, pitted, peeled and cut into small dice
  • 1/2 cup thinly sliced scallions, white and green part
  • 12 large radishes, coarsely grated

Adjust oven rack to upper and lower-middle positions and heat oven to 400 degrees. Place tortillas on two large baking sheets, one on each rack; lightly brush each tortilla with oil and lightly sprinkle with salt on both sides. Bake until crisp and golden brown, 10 to 12 minutes. Remove from oven and set aside.

Meanwhile, mix beans, chilies and chili powder in a medium microwave-safe bowl; cover with plastic and set aside.

Heat chicken and salsa in a medium skillet until heated through and sauce thickens slightly, about 5 minutes; remove from heat until ready to assemble.

Mix yogurt and mayonnaise; set aside.

Prepare cheese, avocado, scallions and radishes; set aside.

When ready to serve, microwave bean mixture on high power until piping hot, 3 to 4 minutes. Return chicken mixture to burner and heat through.

Spread each tostada with bean mixture, top with chicken, sprinkle with cheese, dollop with yogurt, and then scatter avocado, scallions and radishes. Serve!

Spicy Grilled Shrimp With Sweet Chili Sauce and Cilantro

Serves 6

  • 2 pounds large (21 to 25 count) shrimp (wild Gulf, if possible), peeled, but tails left on
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons sriracha or chili garlic sauce
  • 1/4 cup sweet Thai-style chili sauce
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice

Heat gas grill, igniting all burners on high for at least 10 minutes, or build a hot charcoal fire. Clean grate with a wire brush, then lubricate generously with an oil-soaked rag.

Toss shrimp with sriracha or chili garlic sauce, place on hot rack and cover, turning them only once, until opaque and lightly browned, about 5 minutes total. Transfer shrimp to a medium bowl as they come off the grill. Add sweet Thai-style chili sauce, cilantro and lime juice; toss to coat and serve.

Pam Anderson is a best-selling cookbook author, successful blogger and AARP's food expert, writing twice monthly.

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