Fresh flavors and seasonal ingredients make these picnic recipes perfect for a waterfront meal.

By Julia Rutland
June 06, 2008

When calendar pages flip to summer months, picnics become the mealof choice for a leisurely afternoon with friends. And if you'reblessed with consistently warm, sunny weather, eating outside givesyou that summer feeling year-round.

The Salmon Niçoise Pasta Salad is a twist on the classicFrench dish, with hearty noodles and salmon in place of thetraditional tuna. A grilled vegetable salad makes good use ofseasonal favorites-zucchini, squash, peppers, and basil-accented bycreamy goat cheese.

For a light finish, try Lemon-Mint Melon Compote. (The quickdish is even easier when you buy cut fruit from the market.)

These three simple salads can be made up to a day ahead, givingyou more time to plan activities.

Picnic Pointers

Whether you're planning a portable feast on your sailboat orsimply cruising to the local park, follow these guidelines for atasty and safe outdoor meal.

• Freeze bottled water and juices in plastic bottles forcool drinks later in the day. Pack with the food to keep itemschilled.

• Bring a plastic tarp to place under your blanket orquilt if the ground is damp.

• Pack antibacterial gel for eager shell hunters and sandcastle builders to use before eating.

• Eat soon after setting up your picnic so food doesn'treach unsafe temperatures.

• Remember to bring along bags for trash you'll dispose oflater.

• Bring moist towelettes for before-and after-mealtimecleanup. Improvise with several damp paper towels folded in azip-top bag.