The series “Summer Living” offers helpful tips and inspiring stories for making the most out of the all-too-short season. The beach is the ultimate summer destination, a place where you can enjoy swimming, sunbathing, and building sandcastles. It’s also a fantastic and relaxing locale for a picnic with a group of friends.
Planning a beach picnic involves more than throwing on a bathing suit and flip-flops, packing towels, and filling a cooler with deli sandwiches and adult beverages. Sure, there’s nothing wrong with going that route… but you can use this checklist for supplies and prepare my special menu of delicious seafood salad sandwiches and caprese kebabs to make your beach picnic shine!
Beach picnic checklist:
- Picnic basket or market tote
- Large beach blanket and towels
- Cooler filled with ice, bottled water, soda, beer, perhaps a hard seltzer or two, and wine
- Portable speaker (make sure it’s charged) and beach tune playlists
- Beach umbrella and/or tent
- Beach chairs
- A variety of finger foods, like cheese, fruit, crackers, jams, dips/spreads, honey, baguettes, nuts, olives, cookies, snack mix, bruschetta
- Plates, napkins, glasses, cutlery, a few cutting boards, platters, and small bowls
- Volleyball and net, paddle ball, football, Frisbee
- Beach hats, sunglasses, sunscreen, bug spray
- Portable grill and charcoal, grilling tools
- Hand wipes, trash bags, recycling bags, paper towels, hand sanitizer, first aid kit
Swim hard, eat light
I love supplementing a beach picnic with lighter fare such as wine and cheese, charcuterie, fresh fruit and vegetables, nuts, crackers, dips and spreads, and a baguette, all served on platters and boards. This is an easy way to serve a group of people chilling at the beach. Plus, no cooking is required — more time to swim, relax, and have fun! Just throw down a huge beach blanket, serve the food, uncork the wine, and get this party started!
Two of my favorite recipes to make for a beach picnic are seafood salad sandwiches and caprese kebabs. They’re both super delicious, super easy to make (and pack!), and great to display on a platter for a crowd.
Seafood salad sandwiches
The seafood salad is made with wild-caught jumbo shrimp sautéed in garlic & herbs extra-virgin olive oil and mixed with fresh lump crabmeat, all tossed together in a light, creamy dressing. They’re served on Wolferman’s 1910 Original English muffin bread — it’s thick, so it’s perfect for making sandwiches that will hold up in the picnic basket or cooler at the beach.
Seafood Salad Sandwiches
- 2 tablespoons Harry & David garlic & herbs extra-virgin olive oil
- 8 ounces Harry & David shrimp (tails removed)
- Seasoned salt and pepper
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 8 ounces lump crabmeat (drained and shell pieces removed)
- 3 tablespoons scallions (sliced thin)
- 3 tablespoons celery (chopped)
- 3 tablespoons mayonnaise
- 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
- 1 teaspoon hot sauce
- ½ teaspoon seasoned salt
- 8 small butter lettuce leaves
- 16 slices Wolferman’s English muffin bread
- Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the shrimp and season with seasoned salt and pepper to taste. Cook shrimp until bright pink and opaque, about 2 minutes. Raise heat to medium-high and add lemon juice. Continue cooking for another minute or two, remove from heat, and set aside to cool.
- Once cooled, coarsely chop the cooked shrimp into pieces and place in a large mixing bowl with the lump crabmeat.
- Add the scallions, celery, mayonnaise, Dijon mustard, hot sauce, seasoned salt, and additional black pepper to taste. Stir together to combine.
- Place a lettuce leaf on the bottom of the muffin bread and top with ½ cup seafood salad and another slice of bread. Slice sandwiches in half to serve on a platter.
These caprese kebabs are delicious and easy to prepare, and a light and healthy snack, too. The main ingredients are fresh basil leaves, bocconcini (fresh mozzarella balls), and cherry tomatoes, which are threaded onto small wood skewers, drizzled with balsamic glaze and Harry & David basil and parmesan extra-virgin olive oil, and sprinkled with sea salt and freshly cracked black pepper to finish.
- 12 appetizer wooden skewers
- 24 cherry or grape tomatoes
- 24 fresh mozzarella cheese balls
- 24 fresh basil leaves
- 2 tablespoons Harry & David basil and parmesan olive oil
- 2 tablespoons balsamic glaze
- Sea salt
- Freshly cracked black pepper
- On each of the appetizer skewers, alternately thread tomatoes, mozzarella cheese balls, and fresh basil leaves.
- Place skewers on a platter and drizzle with olive oil and balsamic glaze. Season with sea salt and pepper to taste.