High Summer Favorites

Here at August’s end, summer foods are finally abundant in the kitchen garden. Tomatoes, eggplant, peppers, green beans fill the harvest baskets.  To celebrate, I’m drawn to familiar and favorite recipes.  No new recipes right now, just those that we look forward to each summer.  

Caponata and ratatouille are great ways to use eggplant, peppers, tomatoes, zucchini and just-harvested onions. I’ve made several batches of sheet pan ratatouille already and look forward to more, especially because this recipe uses lots of zucchini.  Caponata awaits.

Panzanella, both Melissa Clark’s and Christina Orchid’s, makes a perfect light summer supper.  I especially like either recipe made with a hearty seeded bread or a walnut levain for more textures and flavors.  We served a bowl of this taste of summer at a lunch picnic with friends this week.

Even though the pepper crop was modest this year due to the chilly spring, there are still enough red, yellow and orange peppers for sweet pepper salad, the best way I know to feature the colors and flavors of fresh peppers.  

Fresh beans, green and yellow, are also abundant now, competing with high summer vegetables for a place at the table. Boiling them until tender, less than five minutes in boiling salted water, draining them and dressing them with olive oil and salt is my favorite way to serve them. They’ve taken the place of a salad on the dinner table and leftovers are a treat for lunch the next day.  A couple of times, for dinner guests, I’ve gone a step further and added grilled onions and fava beans and dressed the mix with a mustard vinaigrette to make David Tanis’s wonderful salad.  

Corn will be ready to harvest in another week or so.  Maybe with this ultimate high summer kitchen garden vegetable, I will look for some new recipes, but more likely I will take it easy. We’ll set the water to boil while we pick and shuck the cobs then boil them, roll them in butter, sprinkle with salt and eat.

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