It’s late Summer and the living is easy – especially when it comes to eating seasonally. We spent a recent Sunday morning at FRESHFARM Dupont, sizing up Zucchini and squeezing Tomatoes; what we ended up taking home might have outweighed what we didn’t. After shooting a few PRODUCE PORTRAITS (I mean, just LOOK at these guys. Did we even have a choice?) we got down to the business of figuring out how, exactly, to use our enormous market haul for breakfast, lunch, and dinner (and maybe cocktail or two in between). In search of inspiration, we turned to a cast of chefs, food writers, bloggers + photographers, home cooks, small batch makers, homebrewers, and seasonal menu-planners, and their ideas and recipes are foolproof for working through your own market + CSA adventures. Got your own late Summer produce plans? Let us know in the comments section. We may or may not still be sitting on a veritable ton of okra.
BONUS: Inspired? Check out our full FARMERS MARKET GUIDE here.
Genovese Opal Basil, grown by Tree And Leaf Farm
Mathew Ramsey, PornBurger’s resident Burger Pervert: [I’d add it to] a Peaches and Cream “Burrata” – not your traditional burrata, but basically I’d be using my Isi Whip to make it. Essentially the inside of the Burrata would be infused with peaches. I’ve never made it, but looking to try.
Mitchell West, homebrewer and BeerYT writer: It might make an interesting addition to a Belgian Saison recipe, working well with the spiciness of the yeast.
Christine Lucaciu of Huckle & Goose, making planning local and seasonal meals simple, thoughtful, and effortless: We’d make “Salata de Vinete.” It’s a Romanian eggplant spread similar to baba ganoush with lots of garlic, onion, and a bit of homemade mayo.
Roberto Hernandez, Executive Chef of Mio Restaurant: Eggplant Baklava.
1 big Eggplant
1 box Phyllo Dough Sheets
8 oz. Crushed Toasted Pistachios
1 cup Butter Melted
1/2 cup Honey
1 cup Sugar
1. Cut eggplant into thin slices and place on a baking rack, then bake at 300 degrees for 1 hour and let cool at room temp.
2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter the bottom and sides of a 9×12 inch pan.
3. Toss pistachios with cinnamon and a little sugar and save for later.
4. Unroll phyllo dough and cut down the middle. Cover the phyllo dough sheets with a dampened towel to prevent from drying while you work.
5. Place two sheets in the bottom of the pan and brush with butter. Sprinkle 2 to 3 spoons full of the crushed pistachios, then cover with the eggplant chips and smear honey on top.
6. This layering process should be repeated at least three times. The topmost layer should be phyllo.
7. Bake for around 45 to 50 minutes, until golden crisp.
8. While baklava is baking, make the sauce. Boil sugar and water until sugar is melted. Add vanilla and honey and simmer for 20 minutes.
9. Remove baklava from the oven, then spoon sauce over it and let it cool.
Peach, grown by Toigo Orchards
Megan Barnes, bartender at Compass Rose: The Noval Cup, an adaptation of a contemporary cocktail created by Jim Meehan of PDT, in NYC.
2 oz. of Noval Port
.5 oz. of Lemon Juice
.5 oz. of Simple Syrup
Muddle your peach (over-ripened preferred), simple syrup and lemon juice. Add your Port and shake with ice. Fine strain your drink and pour into a Collins or tall water glass. Add ice to your glass and top it off with Club Soda. Garnish with a cucumber wheel.
So let’s be honest, you’re not making this at home. I mean, it’s not impossible, but don’t. It’s enough work for me to make it at the restaurant. So instead, let’s talk about the ingredients and why they work so well together. First, we have our summer peach and shiso sorbet. Let’s start with the peach, and then I’ll break down to you why shiso will soon become one of your favorite herbs. Summer peaches. That’s really all I have to say right? God, they’re delicious. For this particular recipe we like our peaches to be a bit under ripe; we are cooking them after all. This also helps with the peeling process as ripened peaches can be a bit tough to peel. After peeling, core and cook them in a bit of brown sugar and to a thickness that screams, “please don’t cook me anymore and continue to take away my beauty.” The mixture is cooled and mixed with fresh shiso leaves and placed into beakers for our paco jet (told you, you don’t want to make this at home). Ok, so back to shiso. Shiso is an herb that has been widely used in Japan and China for many years, mostly as a garnish, vessel, or even sometimes a coloring agent. For me it’s an aromatic herb that might be as calming as someone saying “don’t worry, it’s not yours.” When you first take a whiff of shiso it’s not so impressive; however, after cutting into it and releasing its essence you will smile, just a bit. Anyway, the combination between the succulent summer peaches and this relaxing aromatic herb is nothing but spectacular.
Next is our blueberry topping. Whenever I hear the word blueberry, I want a pie. This topping accents our peach shiso sorbet perfectly (it would also be really good in a pie). So we take some fresh perfectly ripe blueberries and cook them down with a bit of maple syrup, freshly grated ginger, and just enough pectin to bind. Once it is nice and hot, we pour the mixture over an equal amount of blueberries to give it some texture. Next we refrigerate and wait for it to get nice and cold. The outcome will be a jelly/sauce of delicious summer blueberries. Don’t put your finger in this; you will bite it off.
Now for our accents. The beurre noisette crumble is used as a topping similar to streusel as we would find on an apple, or even better, blueberry pie. It’s made of brown butter, milk powder and flour. Our yuzu cream is fulfilling our desire for whipped cream on a sundae while continuing to play off our Asian influence in the dish. A semi-sweet citrusy cream, I mean, why the hell not. Plus saying the word yuzu is fun. Last but not least we have our spicy pineapple, because two kinds of fruit just weren’t enough. It’s essentially grilled pineapple, serrano chilis and a touch of salt and sugar which all then gets pureed.
So there it is: our spectacular Summer Sundae Funday. Is it different? Yes. Is it made using amazingly fresh summer ingredients? Yes. Will your mouth thank you? It will talk back to you.
Jess Schreibstein, cook, artist, and magic-maker at Witchin In The Kitchen / @thekitchenwitch: Blueberries hold their greatest flavor and nutrition in their skins, which is why cooked blueberries, which break down the skins with the fruit – like in pies or jams – taste so deep and radically different from the raw berries. But one of my favorite ways to eat blueberries actually doesn’t call for cooking them at all. Pickled Blueberries preserve the freshness and wholeness of raw berries, while infusing them with unexpected, savory flavors. These are delicious on a salad, with a cheese plate, or stirred into a cocktail.
1 1/4 lb. organic Blueberries
1/2 cup distilled White Vinegar
1/2 cup Apple Cider Vinegar
1/3 cup Sugar
1 3/4 tablespoon Sea Salt
1 Bay Leaf
1 teaspoon Black Peppercorns
1 teaspoon Allspice Berries
1/2 small Red Onion, sliced thin
Rinse the blueberries. Combine the vinegars, sugar, salt and spices in a small jar with a plastic lid (not metal – the vinegar will corrode the metal) and shake vigorously to combine. Place the berries and onion in a large jar and pour the vinegar mixture over to cover. Cover with a plastic lid and store in the refrigerator for at least 24 hours before using. Will keep for 1-2 months in the refrigerator.
Okra, grown by Next Step Produce
Sarah Gordon, Gordy’s Pickle Jar: Pickle it!
Emily Hilliard: I recently roasted okra for the first time, with fresh corn – it came out splendidly and was super easy too. Just toss with olive oil, salt, and some cajun seasoning (I used Slap Ya Mama) and roast for about 20 minutes at 425º F.
Huckle & Goose: We love okra stir fried with onions and tofu in a ginger soy sauce.
Jess Schreibstein: There are so many ways to enjoy okra – pickled spears in a Bloody Mary, sliced into gumbo, in a tomato stew over rice. But is there any better way to enjoy okra than sliced thin and fried? I think not.
1 lb. Okra, sliced in 1/4-inch rounds
1/4 cup Cream, Whole Milk, or Buttermilk
1/2 cup Cornmeal
1/4 cup freshly-grated Parmesan
1 teaspoon Salt
1/4 teaspoon Chili Powder
1/4 teaspoon Cayenne Powder
Soak the okra slices in the cream, milk, or buttermilk. In a separate bowl, whisk together the cornmeal, Parmesan, salt and spices, and toss the okra to coat. Warm a couple tablespoons of olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. When hot, throw in the okra and arrange the slices evenly so they all get browned. After a few minutes, flip the okra slices carefully so they get fried on both sides. It might get a little messy – that’s okay! When fried golden, serve hot.
Emily Hilliard: Zucchini is one of those veggies that everyone seems to grow too much of and no one know quite what to do with it all. But zukes are great in baked goods and you don’t have to stop with just bread. I just included some in a Lemon-Cornmeal Cookie, made with red “Bloody Butcher” cornmeal. The zukes replaced the eggs in the recipe, a helpful trick for vegan baking.
Morgan H. West, creative lifestyle blogger at Panda Head: This Zucchini, Ricotta, and Pine Nut “Pasta” has become a Summer staple, and lately I’ve been grating them, pressing out the water, and mixing with eggs and a little cornmeal or almond meal to make fritters.
Emily Hilliard: Ever since I read Harriet The Spy as a kid, I’ve been obsessed with the tomato sandwich, and it’s still my preferred way to eat a ripe summer ‘mater. [With] cherry toms, I’d dice them up with basil and toss with salt and pepper to make a chunky spread, then spoon onto a homemade sourdough with mayo, cheddar, and/or bacon.
Jim Jeffords, Executive Chef, Evening Star: We are using Green Zebras from the rooftop garden for the tomato tart. It’s just puff pastry cut into the size you would like, cooked through while being pressed by another sheet tray with pans on it. Then a spread of the pimento cheese. Then the tomatoes and broccoli. We also use johnny jump ups from the rooftop garden as a garnish. The tomatoes are slow cooked with a little salt, olive oil, garlic and thyme at 300 degrees in a still oven for three hours before being chilled and placed on the tart. Once built, it’s just reheat until the cheese has melted.
William Morris, Executive Chef, Vermilion: We are running a tomato salad that features Striped German (Yellow) Tomato and Green Zebra Tomatoes. The tomatoes are grown in Arlington, about three miles from the restaurant. They’re absolutely amazing.
Rob Rubba, Executive Chef, Tallula: So at Tallula we are doing this great mixed Cherry Tomato salad. It has Sungold Cherry Tomatoes in it with Romano beans, Thai basil , lemon basil and opal basil . Crispy rice and a fish sauce vinaigrette. It’s really bright and refreshing.
6 Zebra Tomatoes
1 Vidalia Onion
4 cloves Garlic
½ cup Olive Oil
I tsp Coriander, ground
1 Star Anise, ground
2 tbsp Sherry Vinegar
½ lb Jumbo Lump Crab
¼ cup Greek Yogurt
¼ cup small diced Cucumber
¼ cup small diced Radish
2 tbsp Mint chiffonade
1. Sauté onion and garlic in olive oil, then allow to cool down.
2. Quarter tomatoes and mix together with onion, garlic and all other soup ingredients.
3. salt to taste and let sit for 2 hours.
4. Blend ingredients in a blender until smooth.
5. Mixed together all garnish ingredients.
6. To finish, add a spoonful of garnish to bottom of a bowl and pour soup over top.
Ed Witt, Chef, The Partisan: I do a version of this Heirloom Tomato Salad with Shiso Pickled Peaches, Caramelized Banana Peppers, and Star Anise Cracklings every time tomato season starts.
For 4 Portions:
3 Striped German Tomatoes
4 Green Zebra Tomatoes
2 Banana Peppers
1 bunch Red or Green Shiso or 1 stack of leaves
1 cup of Sugar
1/2 cup Rice Wine Vinegar
1/2 cup Water
6 pieces Star Anise
1 cup Crispy Pork Rinds
Good Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Sea Salt & Black Pepper
1. Combine sugar, vinegar, water, 3 cloves of star anise & 1/2 of the basil in a pot with a pinch of salt. Bring to a boil, then chill over ice.
2. Cut peaches into 1/8ths. Strain pickling liquid over peaches and allow to sit for at least 30 minutes.
3. Slice peppers into 1/4 inch rings, then combine remaining sugar with water to form a sand in a saute pan. Cook until liquid turns caramel, add peppers & continue to cook until the sugar becomes liquid again. Pour off over a rack & allow peppers to cool.
4. Grind remaining star anise & season chopped pork rinds with it.
5. To serve, slice tomatoes and arrange on 4 plates, and season with salt & freshly ground pepper. Lay pickled peach slices over tomatoes & drizzle with a bit of the pickling liquid. Randomly place peppers on plates and drizzle with olive oil. Finish with some ripped shiso leaves & rinds.
Mike Friedman, Executive Chef/Partner, The Red Hen: What’s my favorite part of summer? Tomatoes, of course! The sheer brilliance of a perfectly ripe tomatoe rivals the finest food in the world. I love to chop them up, marinate them in a zesty vinaigrette and serve them atop great bread and some good cheese. Sometimes the simplest things are the greatest and most memorable, and this Smoked Ricotta & Heirloom Tomato Crostini is no exception. Buon Appetito!
4 thick slices of Italian Bread (Ciabatta or a Pugliese-style Bread work very well)
1 cup Smoked Ricotta
2 cups Heirloom Tomatoes, diced into 1/2″ pieces
3 Tbsp Caper Vinaigrette (recipe to follow)
Salt and Pepper, to taste
Basil leaves, torn
EVOO, as needed
1. If you have a grill, fire it up. If not, heat your oven to 350 F. Give the bread a good soaking of extra virgin olive oil on both sides.
2. Once the grill is hot enough, grill the bread, about 1 minute on each side (or more if you like a good char). If you’re baking the bread, place on a cookie sheet and bake for 10-12 minutes, until crispy on the outside but still warm and fluffy inside. Let the bread cool to room temperature.
3. While the bread is cooling, marinate the diced heirloom tomatoes in the caper vinaigrette and season with salt and pepper. This can be done 30 minutes prior to serving.
4. When the bread is cool, schmear the ricotta onto the surface. Top with the heirloom tomatoes. Finish the crostini with torn basil and more olive oil.
4T Dijon mustard
½ cup Red Wine Vinegar
½ cup Lemon Juice
2 cups EVOO
1. Mince shallots and set aside in a bowl
2. In a blender, combine capers, mustard, red wine vinegar and lemon juice. Mix to incorporate, then slowly drizzle in the EVOO until incorporated.
3.Pour sauce over the shallots and mix well. Refrigerate.
Samuel Kim, Executive Chef, 1789: Heirloom Tomato Salad
Heirloom Tomatoes (every color, size and shape)
Grand Cru Extra Virgin Olive Oil
9 year aged Balsamic Vinegar
Micro Basil (Cinnamon, Lemon, Thai, Opal)
Fleur de sel
(*Recipe to follow)
1. Slice large heirlooms into cross sections and take two slices and place on plate.
2. Place spoonful of Tomato Jam in between two slices of tomatoes.
3. Take other sizes tomatoes and cut into wedges, slices, and any other shape that fits the tomato
4. Lightly dress each tomato with finishing olive oil, and fleur de sel.
5. Place different shapes of tomato onto plate artfully.
6. With a squeeze bottle, drip a little balsamic sporadically onto the plate.
7. Finish with micro basils all over the plate.
1. Quickly blanch sungold and cherry tomatoes in boiling water for 30 seconds.
2. Place tomatoes in ice bath to stop cooking.
3. Peel skins off.
4. Place into quart container. Cover with olive oil and place basil into quart. Store until needed.
1. Take beef steak or roma tomatoes and pulse through a robot coupe.
2. Set up drip pan, perforated pan and cheese cloth. Place tomatoes in cheese cloth and wrap. Place another pan on top of wrapped tomatoes and press down with weight.
3. Set to drain overnight.
4. Next day, reserve the pressed tomato water aside. This will be used for the foam. Take the pressed flesh of tomatoes. In a sauté pan, sweat onions and ginger until translucent. Add the tomatoes that pressed over night and begin to cook down. Add white wine, sherry vinegar, cinnamon, fennel powder, Aleppo pepper, allspice and cook down until tomatoes achieve a compote or jam consistency. This occurs usually after all water has been cooked out.
5. Reserve and cool.
1. Take reserved tomato water from pressed tomatoes used to make jam and add to sauce pot.
2. Heat with 2 tablespoons of white.
3. Bring up to 130 degrees in temperature.
4. Blend in soy lecithin to stabilize foam. Season with salt and pepper. Use immersion blender to achieve foam.
1. Blanch roma tomatoes for 1 minute in boiling water.
2. Shock in ice water to stop cooking.
3. Peel off skin.
4. Deseed tomatoes only keepin the flesh. Cut the tomatoes into a brunoise.
5. Season with sherry vinegar, salt and pepper.
6. Stuff heirloom tomato, with top cut off and cored out, with tomato concasse.
1. Pick basil leaves from stems. Discard stems.
2. In a boiling pot of water, blanch basil leaves to set color for one minute.
3. Shock in ice water to preserve color.
4. Place blanched basil leaves in a Vitaprep blender and just cover with grapeseed oil.
5. Quickly blend until a smooth consistency is achieved.
6. Pour puree into sauce pot. Bring up slowly in temperature to just below a simmer to infuse basil flavor through the oil.
7. Set a coffee filter in a chinois that is in a metal bain set in an ice bath. Strain infused oil through coffee filter to catch any fibers from basil that did not break down. Cool as quickly as possible to retain the bright green color of basil.