30 easy ways to savor summer's harvest
Try these quick ideas for using the season’s best fruits and vegetables
Slow-roasted tomatoes: Cut tomatoes in half and put on a rimmed baking sheet, cut side up. Drizzle with olive oil and season with herbes de Provence, chopped garlic, salt, and pepper. Roast at 250° until shrunk by half but still juicy, about 8 hours. Serve on toasted baguette slices with fresh mozzarella.
Cherry tomato and garlic pan sauce: Sauté cherry tomatoes in olive oil with garlic, salt, and pepper until tomatoes pop, 5 to 10 minutes. Toss with pasta.
More: Fresh tomato recipes
Grilled green beans: On sheets of foil, toss green beans with olive oil, chopped garlic, salt, and pepper, then seal to make packets. Grill packets over medium heat (350° to 450°) until beans are tender, about 8 minutes.
Lemon strozzapreti pasta: Cook ½ lb. strozzapreti* or penne pasta, adding ½ lb. green beans to the pot during the last 5 minutes. Meanwhile, heat 1½ cups whipping cream, zest of 1 lemon, 1 tbsp. lemon juice, and 2 tbsp. butter in a saucepan over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until sauce is hot and blended. Toss cooked pasta and beans with cream sauce, 1/2 cup finely grated parmesan cheese, salt, and pepper. Serve with more parmesan.
*Elongated tube-shaped pasta; find at specialty-foods stores.
Jalapeño creamed corn: Simmer freshly cut corn kernels and some chopped jalapeño chile with a little milk just until corn is tender, then whirl a portion of the mixture in a blender until smooth. Return to pan and simmer briefly with a pinch of sugar, salt, and pepper. Stir in some shredded cheddar or jack cheese if you like.
Grilled corn with parm spread: Whisk together equal parts mayonnaise, Dijon mustard, and ketchup. Brush on grilled corn on the cob and sprinkle with parmesan cheese.
Watermelon prosciutto bites: Wrap watermelon cubes with prosciutto strips; secure with a toothpick.
Watermelon, arugula, and cotija salad: Toss arugula, chunks of watermelon, and crumbled cotija cheese with a lime juice and olive oil vinaigrette.
Basil syrup: Simmer 1 cup sugar, ¾ cup water, and 1 large bunch chopped basil in a saucepan until sugar dissolves. Let steep 20 minutes; strain. Use to sweeten iced tea or summery cocktails.
Cherry tomato and basil salad: In a salad bowl, mix whole basil leaves with cherry tomatoes, toasted pine nuts, and a red wine vinaigrette.
Summer squash, white bean, and pesto soup: Sauté chopped onion and cubed crookneck squash in olive oil with salt and pepper until tender. Add chicken broth, drained and rinsed canned white beans, and chopped fresh oregano and parsley. Bring to a simmer. Top with a dollop of pesto.
Grilled squash with lemon crème fraîche: Brush lengthwise slices of crookneck squash with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Grill over medium-high heat (about 450°) until tender-crisp, 5 to 10 minutes. Mix crème fraîche with lemon zest and chopped fresh dill and serve with squash.
Pepper- and fontina-stuffed chicken: Split chicken breasts lengthwise almost in half and open up like a book. Stuff with sliced fontina cheese and roasted red peppers. Seal openings with toothpicks. Brush with oil, season with salt and pepper, and grill over medium heat (350° to 450°), turning once, until cooked through, about 15 minutes.
Grilled garlic-paprika peppers: Whisk together olive oil, chopped garlic, smoked paprika, salt, and pepper and toss with bell pepper wedges. Grill wedges over medium-high heat (about 450°) until tender-crisp and slightly blackened, about 8 minutes.
Spicy eggplant–goat cheese sandwiches: Whisk together mayonnaise and harissa* and spread on split crusty rolls. Fill sandwiches with goat cheese, arugula, and grilled eggplant slices.
*North African chile and spice paste; available at well-stocked grocery stores.
Turkish-style eggplant cream: Pierce 2 whole eggplants with a fork and roast in a 425° oven until very tender, 45 minutes. Cool, then scoop out pulp. Melt 2 tbsp. butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Whisk in 2 tbsp. flour and cook until lightly browned, 1 to 2 minutes. Slowly whisk in 1½ cups milk and cook, whisking, until thickened. Purée milk mixture in a food processor with eggplant pulp, ½ cup shredded kasseri cheese*, salt, pepper, and a squeeze of lemon. Serve eggplant sauce with lamb kebabs.
*Buy in the specialty cheese section.
Hoisin pork and plum skewers: Skewer chunks of pork tenderloin and red-skinned plum wedges on metal or wooden skewers (if wooden, soak 30 minutes). Whisk together equal parts hoisin sauce and water, brush onto skewers, and grill over medium heat (350° to 450°) until cooked through, about 10 minutes. Top with chopped fresh basil.
Plum manchego pizza: Scatter sliced red-skinned plums, thinly sliced manchego cheese, and chopped fresh thyme over precooked thin-crust pizza dough, then bake until cheese melts.
Quick pickles: Heat 1 cup white wine vinegar, 3 tbsp. sugar, a small handful of peppercorns, and 1 tsp. kosher salt in a small saucepan until sugar and salt dissolve. Pour over 1 English cucumber, cut into chunks. Add roughly chopped fresh dill and toss to coat. Let stand 45 minutes, stirring occasionally; drain, then serve.
Fattoush salad: Tear pita bread into pieces and toast in a frying pan with olive oil until golden, then toss with English cucumber chunks, slivered red onion, chopped pitted kalamata olives, crumbled manouri cheese*, red wine vinegar, olive oil, salt, and pepper.
*Buy in the specialty cheese section.