Martha's Favorite Picnic Recipes
Few things rival the simple joy of eating a meal outdoors—there's just something so satisfying and enjoyable about sitting down to lunch or dinner on a picnic blanket with friends in the middle of nature, even if it's just a patch of grass in an urban park.
Picnic foods are actually some of Martha's favorites, and it's easy to see why. There's something easygoing about them, since they're portable, delicious when served at room temperature, and able to be eaten with just fork, or, even better, your hands. And they're generally pretty simple, straightforward, and tasty dishes with one "wow" element, whether it's a bracing and zesty lemon bar or a juicy bite of fried chicken.
Martha's list of go-to picnic dishes includes a few classic sandwiches: ham and Swiss on buttered baguette, tuna salad jazzed up with apple and basil, and curried egg salad. Potato salad is a crowd-pleasing standby. When she really wants to up the ante, Martha packs a container of moist and flavorful fried chicken, along with its standard accompaniment of buttermilk biscuits flecked with dill, chives, and rosemary.
When it comes to dessert, bars, cookies, and other hand-held treats are a must. Martha's a big fan of lemon sugar cookies, as well as rich, tart lemon bars (her recipe comes from the famed Amy's Bread in NYC). Brown butter toffee blondies, fudgy brownies, and chocolate chip cookies are also no-fail picnic treats, since, like the lemon cookies and lemon bars, they travel well and are easy to serve.
Ham and Swiss Sandwich
Martha knows that a classic ham and Swiss tastes even better served on a buttered baguette.
Zesty Lemon Bars
At once rich and tart, these lemon bars from Amy's Bread in New York City are one of Martha's favorite treats.
Mahogany Fried Chicken
Buttermilk and cayenne pepper make an easy marinade that produces moist, flavorful, picnic-perfect fried chicken.
The ideal fried chicken companions, these savory herb-buttermilk biscuits have dill, chives, and rosemary baked right inside.
Red potatoes combine with grated onion, mayonnaise, vinegar, and a touch of sugar for a deliciously classic potato salad. Garnish with sliced hard-cooked eggs and chopped parsley if you like.
A buckle is a decadent dessert hybrid: cake-like cobbler with a crumble topping.
Alexis's Brown Sugar Chocolate Chip Cookies
These flat, crisp cookies are rich with plenty of butter, brown sugar, and best-quality chocolate chips.
Martha's Favorite Tuna Salad Sandwich
Martha loves moist, oil-packed tuna mixed with celery, apple, fresh basil, light mayo, and a squeeze of lemon juice. Make sandwiches on good-quality sourdough bread for a delicious and nutritious picnic lunch.
Doesn't everyone love a brownie? And Martha likes hers fudgy rather than cakey.
Alexis's Light Egg Salad Sandwich
For a lighter version than the original, this egg salad uses more whites than yolks and a dash of Madras curry to boost the flavor.
Old-Fashioned Lemon Sugar Cookies
A classic lemony flavor; a chewy texture; and glistening, crackly tops created with a double sprinkling of sanding sugar—these large cookies have it all.
Brown-Butter Toffee Blondies
This is a wonderful variation on the blondie; the brown butter gives the treats an extra-rich toffee flavor. We used cookie cutters to form these blondies into fun shapes.