Wednesday, July 18th, 2012

The Summer Plate

Every summer  I wait for “the sweet spot”— that magical stretch of time when the most awaited ingredients of the season begin to appear all at the same time at the farmer’s market or in the CSA bundle. In my corner of the world we are on the cusp of that sweet spot, when corn, tomatoes, stone fruit, are all at their best. It’s also, in my opinion, the best time of year to make dinner because you barely have to cook or stir a pot to get a delicious meal on the table. Case in point, last night’s dinner…

I swung by a roadside stand in the late afternoon and found the first tomatoes, bi-color corn, crisp lettuces, and yellow peaches (if it wasn’t as hot as the Mojave Desert here I would have asked Tim to grill these for dinner and then drizzled them with honey and yogurt, but it’s actually too hot to stand over burning charcoal). I brought all of this produce home and set to work combining it with my favorite summer pantry/fridge staples, items that you can add to any meal of seasonal vegetables and then declare it dinner: ripe avocado, slices of prosciutto, goat cheese and fleur de sel. I boiled the cobs and gave a few whole to the kids to gnaw on, the rest I  used to slice off the kernels for our salad. I made a quick vinaigrette with mustard, champagne vinegar, maple syrup, and grapeseed oil. The tomatoes were just sliced and layered on a platter with the lettuce, goat cheese, and avocado.

I also had some leftover pasta with pesto from the previous night’s dinner so that went on the table as well (another summer staple is a jar of pesto RECIPE HERE in the fridge that I continue to replenish so it never goes empty because you can add it to anything: grilled chicken, potato salad, steamed corn…).

I could eat a plate with all of these things every day and be supremely content, but the sweet spot is sweet because it’s fleeting. You need to enjoy it while you can.

So what’s your favorite and easy summer meal?

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