Visiting the farmers’ market each summer season has always been a treat for me; but now, after a long period indoors, that feeling of contact between man and farmer, between earth and table, have become that much more meaningful. The bright vibrancy and color of summer produce needs little more than a nudge in the right direction to sing. Whether as an accompaniment, accoutrement or the starring role, consider these recipes for your summer table.
Blueberry Cobbler with Cinnamon Biscuits
Yields 6-8 servings
A cobbler is an easy fruit dessert to put together without the work of a homemade pie. It can be made in a large serving dish or done as individual servings in ramekins.
2 pints fresh blueberries, picked over
¾ cup sugar
3½ tablespoons cornstarch
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
½ teaspoon grated lemon peel
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
½ teaspoon cinnamon
1½ cups all-purpose flour
¼ cup sugar plus 1-2 tablespoons for sprinkling
1½ teaspoons baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt
5 tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter, margarine or coconut oil
¾ cup heavy cream or soymilk, plus 1-2 tablespoons for brushing
¼ teaspoon cinnamon
Vanilla ice cream
Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease a 10-inch baking dish or 8 individual ramekins.
Combine all filling ingredients in large bowl, tossing to coat. Transfer to prepared baking dish or divide among ramekins; set aside.
To prepare the biscuit dough, combine flour, ¼ cup sugar, baking powder and salt in a large bowl; whisk to blend. Add butter; rub in with fingertips or with a pastry blender until coarse meal forms. Slowly pour cream or soymilk into flour mixture, mixing gently until just blended and dough comes together (adding a little more liquid as needed if dough is still dry looking).
Spoon golf-ball-size pieces of dough (about 2-3 tablespoons) and place on top of blueberry mixture, arranging biscuits spaced apart in dish (or one large piece of dough per ramekin). Brush dough with remaining 1-2 tablespoons cream. Mix cinnamon with remaining 1-2 tablespoons sugar and sprinkle over dough. Bake cobblers until fruit is bubbling, biscuits are browned, and toothpick inserted into center of biscuits comes out clean, about 45-55 minutes (30-35 minutes for individual ramekins). Cool slightly. Serve hot or warm with vanilla ice cream.
Easy Summertime Peach and Arugula Salad
Yields 6-8 servings
A little bit of dressing goes a long way! Pouring off most of the dressing and leaving only a small amount in the mixing bowl with which to coat the leaves prevents this delicate salad from getting drenched and soggy.
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
2-3 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
2 teaspoons honey
¼ teaspoon kosher salt
3-4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
½ red onion, very thinly sliced
6 ounces baby arugula (about 6 cups)
10 basil leaves, chiffonade
3 large firm-ripe peaches, halved, pitted and thinly sliced
2 ounces finely crumbled feta, goat cheese or blue cheese
A handful of hazelnuts, toasted, skinned and chopped
Coarsely ground black pepper, to taste
Whisk together vinegar, juice, honey and salt in a large mixing bowl. Then add olive oil in a slow stream, whisking until emulsified. Pour off about ¾ of the dressing into a separate cup and reserve. Add the red onion, arugula and basil leaves to the remaining dressing and toss until leaves are coated.
Divide amongst serving plates. Arrange peach slices over greens. Drizzle with a little more dressing. Garnish with little bits of crumbled cheese, a sprinkling of hazelnuts and few grinds of freshly ground black pepper. Serve immediately.
Avocado Variation (parve): Omit cheese. Slice 1 avocado into long slices. To serve, alternate slices of peach, avocado and whole basil leaves (not chopped) in a beautiful starburst pattern over the dressed greens. Finish with a drizzle of dressing, the hazelnuts and pepper.
Hangar Steak with Chimichurri and Herbed Tomato Salad
Yields 4 servings
Argentina’s answer to ketchup, the vinegary herb mélange known as chimichurri is a must to serve with grilled meats. It’s also a fantastic marinade—after a few hours marinating in chimichurri, hangar steak is moist and flavorful, especially on the grill.
4 hangar steaks, about ½ inch thick
2 cups packed flat-leaf parsley leaves (about 1 large bunch)
¼ cup fresh oregano leaves
Pinch of kosher salt
6 garlic cloves, peeled
1 teaspoon hot red pepper sauce or 1 seeded jalapeno pepper
1/3 cup white wine vinegar
2 tablespoon fresh lemon juice (from 1 lemon)
¾ cup extra-virgin olive oil
Herbed Tomato Salad
3 medium vine-ripe tomatoes, diced
½ red onion, minced
1 green bell pepper, diced
2 tablespoons minced parsley
1 tablespoon minced fresh oregano
3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Freshly ground black pepper
Place parsley, oregano, salt, garlic, hot pepper sauce, vinegar and lemon juice in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the chopping blade (“S” blade). Pulse until pulverized. While motor is running, slowly add olive oil until mixture is uniform and well blended. Season to taste with salt or pepper as needed.
Transfer mixture to a large container or baking dish, reserving ½ cup chimichurri for serving time. Place steaks in dish, turning to coat with chimichurri. Cover and marinate for at least 3 hours or overnight.
Preheat broiler or grill. Remove steaks from marinade; discard marinade. Broil or grill steaks for 3-4 minutes per side, turning once during cooking. Allow steaks to rest for 5-10 minutes before serving.
While steaks rest, combine all ingredients for the herbed tomato salad in a large bowl. Toss to blend and adjust seasonings, adding more salt or pepper to taste.
Serve with reserved chimichurri for dipping and herbed tomato salad on the side.
Sun-dried Tomato Turkey Burgers with Rosemary Aioli
Yields 8 patties
Aioli is a garlicky mayonnaise from the Provence region of southern France. Here, a rosemary aioli has a dual purpose: dressing the bun as an accompaniment, while also lending the turkey meat extra moistness and flavor.
½ cup mayonnaise
Juice of 1 lemon (about 2 tablespoons)
¼ teaspoon salt
2 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed (about 2 teaspoons)
1 teaspoon dried rosemary, crumbled or 1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
2 tablespoons olive oil, plus more for greasing grates
1 shallot, diced (about 1/3 cup)
¼ cup sun-dried tomatoes packed oil, drained and chopped
Kosher salt, to taste
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1½-¾ pounds ground turkey
1½ tablespoons rosemary aioli
Hamburger buns or multigrain rolls, sliced in half
Heat oil in a small skillet over medium-high heat. Add shallots and sauté for about 2-3 minutes, until shallots are translucent. Add sun-dried tomatoes and season with salt and pepper to taste; continue to sauté for another 1-2 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside to cool.
Combine all ingredients for rosemary aioli in a small bowl and whisk to blend. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
In a large mixing bowl, combine turkey, shallot-tomato mixture, and 1½ tablespoons rosemary aioli. Mix until just combined. Using moistened hands, gently form into 8 patties.
Preheat grill to high (about 450 degrees). Grease grates of grill (an oil-soaked wad of paper towels and tongs do a good job of this). Place burger patties on grill. Close cover and grill for about 4 minutes per side, turning once during grilling. Toast bun halves on the grill for 1-2 minutes, until golden brown and grill marks appear. Remove and transfer to a platter.
Spread bun halves with rosemary aioli, then top each with a burger and a handful of arugula. Cover with bun top and serve.
Do Ahead: The rosemary aioli can be made 3-4 days ahead and stored in a tightly covered container in the refrigerator.
Naomi Ross is a cooking instructor and food writer based in Woodmere, New York. She teaches classes throughout the country and writes articles connecting delicious cooking and Jewish inspiration. Her first cookbook, The Giving Table, was recently released.